EPA Administrator Pruitt on Agencys Budget CSPAN April 26, 2018 1:44pm-5:38pm EDT
as budget hearings topr talk abt epa's annual appropriations, but the ethics alleges cometh out. he's going to be asked about all of those, which is pay raises for some of his closest staff members, a $43,000 soundproof booth in his office, some of his security spending, his 24/7 around-the-clock security o that detail, pricey flights, a trip to morocco that dealt with something that's outside of epa's jurisdiction, that's all going to come up today. >> thissab is the editorial carh in "usa today" talking about a swamp proof booth. and there with the label scott pruitt sitting at his desk needa underneath the swam. why did he need a soundproof booth at the epa? >> his justification for it is that epa and other cabinet levep officials deal with sensitive information, so he needs a place to do that. he upgraded it. epa has had a secure phone line,
but it was a ways away from the administrator's office so he wanted to upgrade it for conversations with the president and other sensitive materials. >> the hearing with epa administrator scott pruitt wrapped up a short time ago testifying before a house energy and subcommittee on the budget request for the epa. he testified for nearly four hours and here's the hearing again in its entirety. >> get the door closed in the back please. >> the subcommittee come to order. i would like to take a moments to address the guest. thank you for coming. we think engaged citizens are welcome and a valuable part of the political process and only wish every hearing drew this much interest. the purpose is to hear from the federal on important matters
currently before the agency including the subcommittee's continued interests in the workings of the environmental protection agency. it is an opportunity for the subcommittee to ask questions and have a thoughtful discussion on these issues, a number of people in the audience this morning demonstrates the strong interests in these topics and we welcome that interest and your attendance today. i do want to remind our guests in the audience that the chair is obligated under the rules of the house and rules of the committee to maintain order and preserve decorum in the committee room. we have deep feelings on these issues and that we may not agree on everything. but i ask that we abide by the rules and be respectful of our audience members, our viewers, and our witnesses. the chair appreciates the audience's cooperations of maintaining order as we have a full discussion on the important issues.
i would like to recognize myself for five minutes for an opening statement. >> good morning, administrator pruitt, welcome back to the environment subcommittee. i'm glad you're here today and look forward to our discussion. from a policy perspective and from my seat outside the agency, i'm pleased with the direction you're taking at the epa. as i mentioned when you were here five months ago, the american people don't want ideal logs rewriting or reinterpreting our laws. they expect and deserve agencies like the epa who will implement what congress has passed. i'm especially happy with the reinvigorated super fund program and in particular, after more than 20 years on the national priorities list, i'm very glad to see progress finally being made on the westlake landfill we talked about numerous times. super fund sites are public health problems that may pose multiple immediate threats. one of the bills i worked on.
more rationally. to make the agency more efficient and effective. as i mentioned back in december the exercise sadly has not been undertaken in more than 20 years. i believe a lack of consistent review can lead to complacency or foster overreach and look forward to learning more about efforts to reshape the bureaucracy. as the author of the changes to title 1 of the toxic substances control act, i also want to commend you for reducing the backlog of applications for new chemicals. i understand the backlog has crept back up by one third of its normal level. but i look forward to seeing what actions you take including the use of new user fees, to help epa operate its new chemicals review process more expeditiously. finally, i'm glad to hear that
the regulatory process you're running is not looking to short circuit public comment. past administrations have issued enforceable guidelines or employed other tricks to get their way on policy when many americans and their representatives in congress may have disagreed. as public servants our jobs are not based solely on the things we do or the things we have done, but also the way we conduct our business. it is no secret that there have been many stories in the press about the management and operations of the agency and your dealings with potentially regulated sectors. i consider much of this narrative to be a distraction, but one this committee cannot ignore and looking forward to hearing your side of the story. before yielding back my time i want to make a couple of environmental budget and policy observations. first, even though federal law requires a president to propose a budget the u.s. constitution vests the actual budget and spending authority with the congress, particularly the house of representatives. second, the president's budget was released on february 12,
2018, without full knowledge with congress would do in the consolidated appropriations act that became law six weeks later. had the administrator joined nous february or march, he would not have had to face this i believe that no matter how well intentioned any regulatory effort may be the only way to get a lasting solution anyone will not spend more time in court than on the books.
members of the executive branch to patiently work with us in good faith on a legislative solution to the renewable fuel standard. with that i have 50 seconds left. i see no one wishing that time. i yield back my time to the ranking member to the gentleman from new york for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chair. we are here to discuss epa's budget for fiscal year 2019. the president called for a nearly 30 percent cut of epa that would severely impair the ability to fulfill its mission to safeguard public health and our environment. we know all too well the cost of failing that meetings, of the pain of -- that mission and the pain of communities and children who suffer resulting from pollution in their air and water. so, yes, i am concerned epa is allowing polluters to set the agenda and threaten public health with minimal accountability. under administrative pruitt,
common sense health and public protections are slated for elimination with no regard for scientific evidence and little justification for regulated entities. these actions are reopening clean car standards without mention of health o -- or pollution and continuing to repeal the clean power plant and dismissing the climate change and implementing partisan congressional intent, and the number of attempts to under mind the clean air act. i expect the courts will agree many, if not all, of the actions are unjustified. in addition i am troubled by the dismissal of science by the agency's leadership. hundreds of scientists have left with no plan to replace them. expert cease on the advisory board has been eroded. and the proposed rules under mind the use of science in rule makings that will limit the agency's ability to safeguard public health. i know many career employees want to work hard to ensure
the air we breathe is clean and the water is safe. to them i say thank you. agency's political leadership is pursuing a different agenda. and the serious et -- ethics violations at the highest level cannot go unscrutinized. i value the bipartisan record. there are times we disagree, but we have worked through tough issues together and are often able to find bipartisan balance. i know there are those in the scwort who support roll backs of the epa rules. all should be troubled by the numerous reports of misuse of taxpayer dollars and apparent con flect of interest that made the administrator a frequent subject of investigation. i am referring to the administrative pattern of wasteful spending and personal security and yes office upgrades. to say nothing of the well documented sweetheart rental from a lobbyist with business before the epa and huge
unapproved raises for the top political staff among others. perhaps most concerning are the reports of retaliation against employees both career and political that dare to question the most troubling abuses and expenditures and in almost all cases the more we have learned, the less we get. we must ask the inspector general to investigate the seemingly endless misconduct. at the heart of the issues is an apparent pattern of an administrator putting special interests ahead of the american people. i ask my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to imagine if a democrat acted in this manner would you stand for it? i think the answer is clear you would not. my colleagues and i may disagree about many policy disetions coming out of the epa, but one thing we cannot disagree on is turning a blind
eye to fiscal mismanage meant and the abuse of his position. the evidence is clear. you have failed as a steward of taxpayer dollars and our environment. you claim to believe in the mission of the epa, but your actions including the miss trooment of epa staff tell a different story. evidence of your time in state government should have made this obvious. only in recent weeks have we come to fully understand the extent of your political ambitions and tendon satisfy to abuse your position of personal gain and to advance the agenda of your political ben gnaw factors and what appears to be a propensity for grit. your comments have demonstrated a lack of respect for taxpayers and the agency you were you a pointed to lead and the conclusion that you were never fit for this job and your refusal to provide transparency and accept accountability or show the
slightest contrition is inexcusable. mr. chair, no one is above the law. congress must hold this administration accountable on behalf of the american people. and i open our committee can continue to investigate and bring the truth of these important issues to light if a bipartisan manner. with that i deal back. >> chair now rec recognizes the chairman from oregon for five minutes. >> thank thank you, mr. chairman. mr. pruitt, welcome back to the house commerce committee. we are focusing on the budget priorities some time ago. you surely understand that members on both sides of the aisle have some serious questions about management and operations of the agency. we expect you to answer these questions fully and truthfully. i am concerned that the progress being made on the policy front is being under cut by allegations by your management of the agency and the use of the resources. these issues are too persistent to ignore and many members are looking forward to
hear more charity from you today. you will have ample opportunity to provide us with any information that can help answer these questions. additionally, there are numerous on going investigations into theser eus and i want you to commit to the committee with all that you will -- from all of the same information you provided us and the epa inspector general and the congressional committees. having said that, let me also say that i appreciate your good work. the focus of the epa tasked with statute out. that being clean air for americans to breathe and safe water for citizens to drink and soils free from pollution. an example i want to commend your efforts to reenvigorate the super fund program and to accelerate the clean up of the will -- willamette river at the portland harbor. it has gone on long enough. you stepped up to the satisfaction of the people of portland, oregon and even some of your detractors applauded you on this clean up and i
thank you for taking the lead. i also appreciate your desire to balance the power between washington, d.c. and the states making our efforts more efficient and tangible to communities across the country. to succeed we need stronger local, state and public partnerships where we can team up resources to accomplish the gols of cleaner water, cleaner air and cleaner soils. i appreciate the commitment as congress intended and have them concentrate on a statutory obligation under environmental and public health laws as well as the administrative procedures act bringing new transparency to your public processes especially when it comes to the data and the science that is truely a welcome change from the past epa's. mr. administrator, too many predecessors believe a clean environment was incompatible with a healthy economy. i share your view that we can and must have both in mark.
we need common sense regulations that cleans up the environment and does so in a way it does not suffocate the economy. i believe the epa should focus on innovative problem solving and partnerships with states, the pray vet sector and other state holders that leverage their resources and expertise. i look forward to our discussion today about the agency's budget and the epa's direction now and in the future. as with our hearing with you five months ago, i remain interested in the goals you are establishing at epa and the metrics you intend to use to measure their progress. particularly i noticed number five discusses staffing and internal management issues. it is important the epa not be bloated, but it is sheanl to have the staff with prper expertise, i'm ma meanting and enforcing programs that correlate with experience. finding the critical staffing balance is one of the most important roles of anyone given the enormous task of managing a large taxpayer
funded enterprise. finally i want to applaud the objectives in the agency's budget that reduce red tape and result in the regulated community better knowing what is expected of them and promoting prompt, i'm -- even and even fair enforcement of the law. i look forward to learning about all of that. i thank you for joining us before the energy and commerce committee and i look forward to your testimony. mr. chairman, i yield back to balance my time. member of the full question congressman palome for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. administrator pruitt has brought secrecy, conflicts of interest and scandal to the epa. the other administration republican and democrat you would be long gone by now. so far 140 house democrats have signed on to a resolution introduced by miss castor with no confidence in you, mr. pruitt. determinely four republican house members have called on you to step down. the voices are growing.
just look at the critiques from former bush epa administrator and new jersey governor christie todd whitman who called administrator pruitt tenure a, quote, slap in the face to fiscal responsibility and responsible governments. said also that evidence is abundant of the dangerous political turn of an agency that is supposed to be guided by science. another form of republican epa administrator william wiley called administrator pruitt, quote, a third-rate idealog. both parties believed in the epa's pigs and understood that they had been given a sacred trust by the people of the country. unfor gnat he, this is not the case with you, mr. pruitt. you do not believe in epa's mission and forgot that you are here to serve all of the american people, and not just a select few or just yourself. the fact is administrator pruitt has used this as an opportunity to r enrich himself or his corporate friends and president trump seems to be perfectly fine
with these actions. so much for draining the swamp. when we met in december you pledged to be more transparent. you promised to do a better job providing technical assistance and sending witnesses to hearings and responding to congressional requests. you have followed through on none of these promises. you have generated scandal after scandal. when confronted you failed to take responsibility for your actions and instead blamed your staff and security detail and critics and pretty much anyone but yourself. and you are accountable for your agency and all of these scandals in my opinion. the buck stops at score desk. there are so many outstanding questions that we need truthful answers to today. so far we only got half truths, misleading answers or out right falsehoods. for instance, you rented a condo at well below market value and then emphatically claimed on fox news that your landlord lobbyist husband has no business before the epa, a statement proven to be
untrue. it is that kind of conduct that prompted ranking members and vice ranking members request you be placed under oath for this hearing and it be expanded to include the oversight and investigation subcommittee. the chairman did thought agree to that, but i would remind you what chairman waldon said to the press when he declined oir request. he -- he said lying to congress is a crime regardless whether or not you are sworn in. so now committee republicans conveniently told the press they are investigating you for some of your outrageous unethical abuses and i have seen no evidence that that is really happening will fortunately the committee democrats have been demanding answers and five independent federal investigations are being done at our request. yesterday i joined with the ranking member from the oversight and government reform committee to request an additional investigation by the office of special council into your troubling pattern of retaliating against the epa el
month iys who question dash, ad employees who question your extravagant spending. they will affirm what i come to believe is true, you are unfit to hold public office and undeserving of the public trust. i don't say those words because i particularly dislike you or hold you in ill repute. i just think that every indication we have is that you really should resign and you are undeserving of the public trust. i yield back, mr. chairman. thank you. >> at this time we conclude with members' opening statements. the chair would like to remind members that all opening statements will be made part of the record. we would also now like to welcome and thank our distinguished witness, u.s. epa minister scott pruitt for being here. you have an opportunity for an opening statement followed by a round of questions by members. you are joined by holly
griefs, the chief financial officer. we appreciate you being here and mr. administrator we recognize you for five minutes for your opening statement. >> good morning, mr. chairman and ranking member palome and members of the committee. it is good to be with you today and i appreciate the opportunity to discuss the matters you have raised. there is consequential and important work being done at the epa since the beginning of the trump administration. both in terms of improved and vital outcomes as well as substantial, regulatory reform. we are stripping the burdensome costs from the american economy at an unprecedented pace, and we are doing this while inspiring confidence in the american people that it is the government going to work with them as opposed to against them to achieve harmony against jobs and growth and environmental stewardship. in a short time we have made progress and improved outcomes. these are a few. we removed three times the number of polluted sites of containment communities across
the country compared to the previous administration in 2017. in 2018 we are on pace to improve 10 times the number of polluted site. we are working cooperatively with the state to improve air quality to the approval of 350 state improvement plans. with regard to water we are leading a multi-agency approach and set a goal of eradicating lead from our drinking water if 10 years, largely to the utilization of a tool you provided. it is my goal to prioritize applications for critical water intau structure over -- infrastructure to see it dedicated to the replacement of lead service lines to redice lead in our drenging water. drinking water. president trump set an ambitious goal and our measurable achievements are test meant to the effectiveness of if driven what the epa can achieve. we have not just been tasks with being more efficient and effective than ever before, but regulatory reform.
that transformational change is happening. in one year the trump administration saved the american people almost $8 billion in regulatory savings. the epa alone is responsible for two dozen regulatory actions saving 1 billion of the 8 billion in regulatory cost. these actions are providing america's job creators with the regulatory clarity they deserve by repealing orie placing the so-called clean power plan. we ended in a one size fits all regulation. bay rescinding and rewriting the 2015 rule we are ending washington's power grab over land use restrictions across the country. it is indisputable we made enormous progress and advancing president trump's agenda and putting back things that were unnecessary and burdensome and awful for hard working americans in the country. when the president nominated me to this position, i believe the work was going to be impactful and it has been.
tremendous progress has been made. i did not expect the work to be easy and i few there would be meaningful opposition. as i sit before you today i recognize there have been troubling media reports over the past few weeks. i promise you that i more than anyone want to establish the hard facts and provide answers to questions surrounding these reports. let me be very clear. i have nothing to hide with how it relates to how i have run the agency the last 16 months. i admit it is a learning process and when congress feundz fault in the decision making i want to correct that and ensure it does not happen again. ultimately as the administrator of the epa the responsibility for identifying and making changes necessary rests with me and no one else. with that being said, fact is fact and fiction is fiction. a lie doesn't become truth because it is on the front page of the newspaper. much of what has been said about me and my team half truths or not reality. i am tear and i welcome the --
i am here and i welcome the chance to be here to set the record straight. let's have no illusion about what is going on. those who attack the epa and attack me are doing so because they want to attack and derail the president's agenda and undermine this administration's priorities. i am simply not going to let that happen. i look forward to your questions today and thank you, mr. chairman. >> the chair: the chair thanks the administrator. i will start the series of questioning and recognize for five minutes before the first round. we have obviously a lot of media present. i have been asked the last couple days what am i going to do or say? i am going talk policy and stewardship. i will -- half of my five minutes will booy on policy issue and hopefully we can talk about steward ship issues. since you last testified before the subcommittee the white house hosted a number of meetings and some of which included you and other cabinet
officials to discuss changes in the renewable fuel standard. the potential administrative actions hang over efforts on capitol hill to reach an enduring resolutions to the program. are any of these administrative changes in them or will you commit to allowing congress to work on a legislative solution? >> mr. chairman, both are important, and i do think there are regulatory options ta we can pursue. many talked about transparency as an example with respect to the trading platform, how long you can hold ren and who can buy and sell. those are evaluations we can engage and there is consideration about the rvp waiver. and the e-15 being allowed year-round. that is something that it is a legal determination and it is no the a policy determination, and we have been ernest the last several months evaluating
that in hopes that we can get to a conclusion on our ability to take those kinds of action. i really believe that congress' role is terribly important. as you look at the issues that we are facing with respect to the fuel standard and the viability of the platform, we need both congress and our regulatory responses to be working together. >> let me tell you from my perspective what happens as we are trying to get our desperate groups together. every time someone gets hauled down to the white house the other side goes crazy. the other side gets all down and then the other side goes crazy. we are trying to keep everybody in the room and that's the perspective i come from. follow-up on this is what actions if any are you taking to prepare for the renewal fuel standard post 2022. >> we are evaluating that and there is a cap of 15 billion
presently. another area that you have been interested in is high octane and with respect to -- it was mentioned in some of the comnts about the cafe standards. there needs to be a serious consideration of us pursuing as a country fuel choices and options to meet those cafe standards and provide high octane and options to the american people. i think there is a potential that will serve the auto sectors across the country we can pursue together. >> thank you and i want to move to the administration portion of my two questions. you eluded to and some of my colleagues eluded to the recent stories and issues and your willingness to set the record straight. in my minute and 45 seconds left i want to give you the time to address those as you will. >> i think, mr. chairman, i want to address each of these respective issues and provide
information and work with congress both with oversight as well as this committee to provide any and all information that will help answer those questions. those have been a distraction to the agenda. that troubles me. ultimately as an administrator of the epa we have to make changes to get accountability in the processes to ensure that in each of these areas we get better results. we show the american people that we are chitted -- committed to being good stewards and staying reu to the mission of the agency which i believe we are and have, and i am committed to doing that. that's why i am here to talk to you today. >> i think i will yield my time and turn to mr. conkil for five minutes. >> recently at the came to you from walk -- came to you.
you claimed to have been unaware of the raises. at the time he asked if you intentionally went around the white house or if you simply had no idea what your staff was up to. the epa inspector general is looking into the races. they released information to inform to grant the raises signed by the chief of staff mr. jackson who said he was signing on your behalf. this is your opportunity to set the record straight. did you, administrator, authorize mr. jackson to sign those documents for you some. >> congressman, those were delegated to mr. jackson, and the inspector general did reference that in his management alert. >> you did authorize him then to sign them? >> those decisions -- that decision was made -- >> yes or no, did you authorize him? >> the delegation gave him that authority so that is a yes. >> the inspector general recognized that, congressman. >> so you authorized mr. jackson to sign those documents for you.
internal e-mails sara green wall who received a substantial raise said you were aware of and supported the raises. was that true? >> i think with respect to the raises -- >> was that true? i have five minutes so i have to move along. >> i was not aware of the amount. >> were you aware of the raises? >> i was not aware of the amount and of the bypassing or the ppo process thought being respected. >> well then i am concerned that you have no idea what is going on in your name at your agency especially on an issue under ig investigation. you dedicated this week from champions transparency, but blocked the media where you announced a proposal that will limit the use of public health studies studies and policy making. when it came out, it revealed it was developed entirely by political staff seemingly without a robust outside stakeholder process. and once the press started
covering the e-mails they were removed from the agency's public portal. i do not know if you were involved in the decision to remove the e-mails, but it was not transparent. you like to claim that you support the rule of law and acknowledge the limits of the epa authority. many of the environmental statute outs are clear. they must use the best science as policy making. this proposal would prevent that. are you aware that nancy beck raised concerns that such a policy could impact data that would be important to industry such as confident business information, yes or not will -- yes or no? >> it was about ensuring -- >> were you aware -- were you aware? >> as i indicated, congressman, this effort is actually a rethreks -- reflection. >> i take that as a yes. to mitigate that concern it appears the proposal has been crafted so that you, the
administrator, has discretion for ks swremmion you see fit without transparency anding built for score decisions. if epa was assessing the safety of a chemical you alone would have the power to selectively block public health studies that do not support political priorities and allow ones to favor your friends and industry. mott only does this open the door to spcial -- spcial treatment of the public health, but you can pick winners and losers. do you think it would be hipocritical to select confidential business information for disclosure, but not personal for public health researchers, yes or no? >> congressman, i believe what needs to be clear is what actions we took were to ensure that data and methodology were available to those who have a concern about rule making. >> i believe it is hipocritical. moving on, given your track record how can the public trust your discretion to make fair decisions when it comes to the biases?
>> congressman, this was an effort to ensure transparency. as we do rule making -- >> based on your record should the public trust your decision making here with the huh possible kris sees that -- hypocrisies in the system you divide? >> this is a support of transparency at the agency. this is not an individual decision made by the administrator. this is offices making rules based upon transparent -- >> i think this boils to a system of trust. you are picking winners and losers and we pick the favorites in the industry and there is a hipocritical outcome to it all. with that, mr. chair i yield back. >> the chair recognizes congressman walden for five pins. >> thank you, mr. chairman. as i mentioned my opening statement, there are many reviews going on at the epa and inspector general's office and government accountability office and other congressional
committees about some of these concerns you are hearing about today, mr. administrator and raised in the media. my question is pretty easy. will you commit the epa will provide this committee with the documents and the information that the epa produces for those inquiries? >> absolutely. >> thank you. as i told you last time you were here the committee is charged by the house of representatives whose oversight and responsibility for the bulk of the statute outs that the epa legislates and can be spent. can you talk about principals for determining the use of federal money by the epa including whether you are using any kind of previous spending guidance to make these decisions? >> congressman, i believe that as we are making decisions we have policies guidelines that drive those decisions. some are in the office. and those guidelines gather the decisions each and every day. >> are they similar to guidelines that governorred
your predecessor's decisions? >> yes. >> in what ways? >> well, these are policies that pre-dated our time there at the agency. from travel to internal decision making on allocation of dollars to serve program offices. these are pre-dated policies that govern our actions every single day. >> let me ask you about the issue of science and transparency. i have had a lot of constituents over the years who have been very concerned. decisions that are made by administrators or the bureaucracy. in some cases they they can't get access to the underling data. the proposal you put forward this last week or so, how does that address that issue? are we going to get science that everybody will have a chance to see that may booy replicated -- may be replicated and peer reviewed so we are working on facts ? >> this is an interest of congress. there is a proposed legislation for this very
issue. this was a regulatory action that was taken this week, a proposed rule that goes to the heart of transparency as i was trying to share earlier. it requires when we do rule making at the agency we can't simply publish the conclusions and the summaries of studies. what happens is third parties provided studies or summaries and we have taken the conclusions and used it as a basis for rule making, but not publish the data and not publish the methodology that supports the con constitution. conclusion. so those imposing rules were ill-equiped to know if they were . was it internal or did they use third parties. data and methodology should be a part of the package. >> so is what you are trying to do is make more information available or less information available? >> absolutely more information available. >> you are going to require that every one of these decisions or whatever they are based on, the data and the
methodology as well as conclusions are transparent and available to the public. will they be on your website? how will we know that? >> ps a proposed rule, congressman. it is something we are taking comment on and i'm sure there will be a wide array on that proposal. it is pour transparency and reproduce ability and it is what we rely on in rule making. >> as you know, mr. administrator, last year and we passed into law this year, this committee unanimously i believe here and in the house rewrote america's brown field legislation and we are working together to we write the safe drinking water act to make additional grants available. what are you doing to help green up the brown field sites that litter our neighborhoods in our country? >> we just issued a series of grants across the country this week with respect to the program. it has been a tremendous success reclaiming polluted
areas across this country to allow communities to once again join those areas will with the partnership of congress being increased and there are additional monies to enhance the program, we are administering the grants and seeking partners all over the country to ensure these areas are cleaned up and repurposed and will be enjoyed by the communities. >> i just have a few seconds left. i want to follow-up on what the chairman subcommittee talked about regarding the rff's and new fuel standard. i want you to know mr. florez and others on this committee have put a lot of time in because it is a priority of mine and theirs to figure out going forward how we have a standard that works for those who grow corn and those who refine fuel, the auto industry and the environment. i would hope this administration would look to our leadership in this effort as well as any independent actions, or the fact that we are a co-equal branch and the
house has some authority in this area as well as the senate. will you commit to that? >> i think it is essential. at the end of the day certainty is very porn in -- is very important in this area -- >> gentlemen it is time. i just want to make sure we have a lot of people lined up. we will have more time to talk about that. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you to the ranking member of the subcommittee. you have five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i listened to the reasons why you haven't resigned, and basically you said you are staying because only you can carry out the president's mission. i strongly disagree with that. i think your actions are an el buyers meant to president trump -- an embarrassment to president trump and affect the epa's ability to carry out the president's mission. if i was the president i wouldn't want your help. i would just get rid of you. i am not the president, so let me move on. it has been reported that you
have even gone so far as to retaliate against epa's employees, punishing those who questioned your spending and management, and sidelining those who attempted to advance important public health protection. i wanted to ask again yes or no because we don't have a lot of time, it has been reported that at least five epa employees were recently reassigned, demoded or otherwise retaliated against after they raised concerns about your spending. is that correct, yes or no? >> i don't ever recall a conversation. >> i will take that as a yes. s a yes will. >> you removed the head of the epa office that found you did not face direct death threats. has it always been your practice to fire people who disagree with you? >> congressman, the inspector general himself has noted that the -- >> you are not answering yes or no. >> with respect to the quantity and the type of threat. is on the record for saying so. >> look six staffers is a
pattern. i think you need to start taking responsibility, but you say you will take responsibility, but you don't. i am very concerned by this troubling pattern of retaliation which is not only potentially illegal, but it is creating a hostile environment that is expediting the exodus of the valuable expertise of the epa in place of the public servants you are installing lobbyists. let's look at an expert who fought to finalize a ban on a deadly chemical used in the paint strippers. the "new york times" and other media report her efforts were opposed by nancy beck, the chemical industry lobbyist you put in charge of regulating chemicals of the last year nancy beck was being paid by the chemical industry to lobby against chemical regulations and now she is retired of man see beck is running -- nancy beck is running the program and it has been abandoned. yes or no were you involved in the decision to abandon the rule making, or was that decision made by nancy beck.
>> the rule making hats not been abandoned. >> i didn't say that, but that's not accurate. did you know the manufacturing of the paint stripper have been aware of death linked to this use for more than 28 years, but continue to produce it, yes or no? >> that's actually a solve vent we are considering -- >> you don't want to admit what it does. despite your scandals, the white house says you have the president's support because you are implementing his de regulatory agenda, but i think it has real costs. in october of 2017 before epa abandoned the rule making, a small business owner in south carolina died while using the methaline chloride. i want to thank his brother for coming and advocating for a ban for this deadly chemical. were you or others at epa aware of the death when the agency abandoned the ban of the chemical? were you aware of his death? >> it is important to know we have a propose ban in place
-- >> obvious he are you not going to admit -- you are not going to admit you knew about drew's death. unfortunately another 31-year-old man joshua atkins died using a paint strip torre finish his bike. i learned about joshua from his mother, lauren, who sent me a deeply touching letter. i would ask unanimous consent, mr. chairman to put that letter into the record which she states she hopes her son would be the last to die from this. >> can we see the letter? >> i will give it to you now, mr. chairman. your de regulatory agenda costs lives, real people with names and brothers and mothers. as a result power to finalize the -- as a result power to finalize it and you haven't done it. do you have anything to say to these families at this point? >> congressman as i was trying to indicate earlier there is a proposed ban in place we took comment on that we are reviewing presently. there has been no decision at this time -- >> obviously you have nothing to say to these families. you say you are going to do
something, but these chemicals are still on the shelves and they make a mockery of the reform legislation that this committee worked so hard on including our chairman and it makes a mockery of the epa. you have the power to immediately get this off the shelves and you are not doing it. you should do it. i appreciate your help, but he is not implementing taska, so wonder if our efforts were in vein. thank you, mr. chairman. >> the chair: thanks, gentlemen. i recognize mr. bartas. >> i am hahn they ared to have the e -- i am honored to have the epa administrator back before the committee. mr. add -- administrator, you are not the first person to be the victim of for lack of a better term washington politics. you got picked to be the epa
administrator because of the service you provided for the great state of olympic oak in fighting and of the obama administration radical clean air policies. you recommended and i support the recommendation you made to the president that we withdraw from the paris climate change agreement. haz a decision that most of the the -- that's a decision that most of the stakeholders opposed. if you can't debate the policies in washington, you attack the personality. that's what is happening to you. republicans do it when it is a democratic president. the democrats could it when it is a republican president. in my opinion, and it is just my opinion, that's what is happening to you.
on your housing costs, were those approved, the contract, before it was signed? didn't you get an ethics review and didn't that individual say it was acceptable? >> there have been two ethics reviews, congressman. >> quick answers because i want -- >> this has been two ethics reviews speaking to the leads itself it it it -- itself for market rates. >> you have been attacked for flying first class. is that illegal? >> congressman, that was proved by the travel office at the epa. i have since made changes -- >> is that illegal? >> it is not. >> it may look bad, but not illegal. there was an energy secretary named hazel o'leary under the clinton administration who leased party jets that were used by rock stars, party jets. it was not one time, but several times. have you ever rented a party jet. >> no, congressman.
>> you have not rented a party jet. that's good. let's talk about this transparency issue. as i understand it, your transparency proposal is that if they are going to use the signs to make a recommendation or epa regulation they have to report what the science is. they have to report it, is that correct? >> that's right. sky is there anything wrong with that? >> it enhances transparency to the american people. >> i think it is an excellent idea and it is long overdue. >> will gentlemen suspend for a minute. we have guests in the gallery. you have guests and i have some magic words that will cause you to have to leave. ii do not want to say that, so if you would just respect -- we were asked for tau decorum. that is not being decorous or
whatever the word is. let's continue on with the testimony and then we will move forward. the chair recognizes the chairman ameritas. >> on your transparency proposal , if it is actually accepted we will get to see what the science is behind the support for the regulations. is that not correct? >> it is. and what has been of note to me as i have been serving the agency is there is is a reliance at the agency on many third party studies. it is important to make sure the methodology and the data accompanies the conclusions so the american people can make informed decisions about the rules and whether they actually are based on found science. >> to get to the budget we are here to discuss, there is a program in your agency called
leaking underground storage tanks and the short acronym is lust. it is to be used to clean up and prevent leakage from underground storage tanks. to your knowledge is there anything under current law that prevents a state from using it for other purposes? in other words, the money is supposed to be used to clean up these underground storage tanks, but my understanding is very few states use it for that purpose. >> you know, congressman, i am not aware of that happening, but it is something that we would investigate and look into. >> could you do that? >> i would be happy to. >> time expired. >> thank you for your service. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> administrator pruitt, a mission to help the public's health and there is concerning lack of integrity and a pattern of the rich and powerful putting their rich
and powerful friends and their own self-interest above the interest of the public's health and the expense of the common good. clean air to breathe and safe water to drink is not a privilege only for the rich and powerful, but a right for everyone. and the role of a public servant is to serve and protect the public and in particular the public's health. the elimination of many public health protections or kickbacks to the rich lobbyists that have a real impact -- i want to highlight one example. this week the epa announced that it intends to limit the scientific studies it will use in issuing new protections to only study and make public the private and personal and confidential information of the people who participate in those studies -- of the people who participate in the studies. revealing the info is a
violation of any reputable research and institutional review board in the united states. the type of studies you want to ks clued are the same kind of scientific studies that were used to prove that leaded pipes and paint harm children and secondhand smoke is a dangerous carcinogen. we are looking at landmark studies that proved a connection between air pollution and early death in 1993. that just by living in a city with poor air quality, your average life expectancy was lower than those who didn't p. this study became the basis of fine particulate matter in the clean air act. when you were here in december we spoke about fine particle matter which based the study on confidential patient health information and we know it is associated with premature death, asthma attacks, chronic bronchitis, and decreased lung function. you acknowledged these risks
and agree that there is no safe level of fine particle pollution, but your new policy would block
the epa from considering the studies that have shown these dangerous health implications. do you deny that they have this health impact? and it caused your agency to disregard these studies? >> if they provided the methodology -- >> it is a clear violation of the ethical rules and protecting the patient confidentially. who is protecting the subjects in the studies? you have promised a replacement rule for a clean power plant. would that replacement rule have a fine particle pollution some. >> we have been as you know with a proposed rule on just that issue. >> i mentioned the risk of lead in drinking water. with this new rule the risks were showed by studies that protected the patient
confidentially in all of the other intau kraw sees of confidential information. now, your rule would lead to the idea that if it doesn't suit the manufacturers' intent the studies can be disregarded. do you believe that methothelioma orcases mesothelioma. >> what you say can be retacted. retacted. >> you have been in office -- you have dismantled protections for the public health. and there is protections for children who suffer asthma, seniors with respiratory illnesses and you demonstrated a disregard for true scientific study and the scientific process and the confidentially of people who want to participate in help
further our collective knowledge to protect it the public good. you have done this to allow your rich and powerful corporate friends to create more pollution and in order to increase profit at the expense of the common good. again, children with asthma and seniors with copd, and i am an emergency physician and i participated in the boards. i know they are protecting the information in order to get more participants, and i have also treated children withs asthma gasping for air and seniors. when you remove these protections to under the guise of a false transparency notion you are making life more difficult for everyday, american families. this is disgraceful and the american people deserve better. >> chairman from west virginia
for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman and thank you add elevator for coming before us. i think that was the first policy question you got from the other side of the aisle. observation. to the public, i think this has been a classic display of innuendo and mccarthyism that we are seeing too often in washington that unfortunately i think works against saville -- civility and respect in public office. i was hoping we could stay on policy today as much as we could, but i can see some can't resist the lime route and -- the limelight and the opportunity to grandstand. so having said all that, i thank you for what you have done. you have been able to stay disciplined on these policies. i know in west virginia the impact it has had on brown field legislation and what you are doing on that. i can see the roll back of the
regulatory reform that there is hope now that a lot of people in the fossil fuel industry that they can see that deterioration in the past eight years prior to that. there is some hope. we are seeing the economy start to rebound thanks to you and the administration of taking this fight on. i know if i could -- i know an example, here is an example of despite what has been said to the achievements you made, the epa just awarded $1.9 million for research on drinking water. that was research in flint. people are ignoring the progress we are making. they are trying to make this another attack on president trump. unfortunately a lot of people will go along with that. if we could, if i can get back to one of the things that has disturbed me some with the
events over the years of we had a good -- we had a good friend in lampton. she has a refinery in mississippi, but they have the only refinery in west virginia. it is a shawl -- it is a boutique operation at 23,000 barrels. i know the definition of a small refinery is 75,000 barrels so they are a third of this size. they are struggling meeting the qualifications and the requirements of a major refinery. is there something that we can work together or something to help out the small refineries so they can compete? they can't handle the rims. they don't have a market. is there something we can do to help out these boutique refineries ? >> congress has been helpful in providing a small refinery exemption under the statute out. it is objectively determined
that it is 75,000 barrels as you indicated and we had received i think 24 applications in 2017, a little over 30 in 2018. i would say to you the volatile tee is creating instability across the entire rss discussion. it is in everyone's best interest to get more clarity and confidence in how this ren trading platform and relief needs to occur. it will benefit the ethenol industry and those who are suffering with the ren obligation. it is our hope we can chart a path forward with congress to achieve those kinds of outcomes. >> mr. administrator, for a number of years we were working to try to get -- to resolve something that was sitting out here for 30 to 40 years and that was the coal ash issue. we had that taken care of two years ago. my question back to you as an states that opted not to put
together their own program and turn it over to the epa? can you help us and give me an update on where we are with some of the state implementation? >> we provided guidance to the state to develop their own program and few states have done that, to your question. and we are working with those state partners to equip and educate them on the option by providing the guidance. it is important they pursue it. it is important they pursue it in a timely way, and it hasn't taken place yet. >> have any states chosen not to put together their own program? >> it is early in the process and that is the reason we are working hard to educate and inform those states. >> mr. administrator, thank you for your handling of all of these issues and i hope we can stay on policy and talk about some of the progress that has been made. it has been good for the environment. thank you. >> time chair recognize gentleman from california. mr. peters, five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i do want to ask a couple of questions about the super fund
program and particularly your friend albert kelly who you put in charge of the program despite his past. he was scheduled to appear before the committee in january, but he backed out at the last minute citing travel obligations. i know my colleagues and i were disappointed. mr. kelly sent a letter for the record and can answer any and all questions about his lifetime ban from the banking industry and the illegal activities that lead up to that. it is now more than three months later and we have no information from mr. kelly president we are told that the political leadership has prevented him from speaking with us and if that is reu it is dis-- if that is true it is disappointing. you were interviewed on fox news by ed henry and he asked about mr. kelly. in the interview you said the details were private. my question is if mr. kelly is happy to share the details of his lifetime banking ban as a matter of transparency, is he not telling us the truth or
are you stopping him from doing a? >> if mr. killly is willing to share it it with you, he should do that. >> terrific. >> i would encourage him to do so. >> because we do think that it is important issue of transparency and i am glad to hear that. the fdic ban is not the only concern about mr. kelly president it has been widely reported his family has a super fund site. he is the head of the super fund program creating a perception of a conflict of interest and he may be favoring the site that is next to his property. you have mentioned that one of your goals is -- one of your values is that you are committed to a good stewardship of taxpayer resources. has this been reviewed by ethics officials and if so were they provided the information to conduct the review? >> i don't have knowledge of that, congressman, if that happened or not. >> so we would ask that be done. when you came to testify before the subcommittee in december you claimed you had to remove scientists from epa science advisory board because
of, quote, the appearance of lack of independence. your deputy associated administrator for the office of public affairs whose task was reviewing millions of dollars of grants for epa was approved to provide media consulting advice to unnamed cry qulents -- clients and likely prior clients from his republicanly affiliated consulting firm. were you aware he was a media consultant for outside clients. >> i am aware the decision was made and that the agency approved that. >> don't you think this creates an appearance of lack of independence? >> the ethics individuals disagreed with that. >> do you have an opinion? >> i just know the ethics officials approved the transaction. >> it seems if he is working for people outside the agency with his fingers inside the agency that that could be a lack of independence and i will offer that as my own observation then. you brought in jess sands that was facing a large fine from epa for failing to protect his workers from a dangerous
pesticide. during his brief tenure, his fine was reduced from 4.9 million to $400,000. were you personally involved in this decision to reduce the fine? >> it is my understanding that mr. sands involvement occurred after march of last year. >> without respect to timing then were you involved in the decision to reduce the fine? >> i was not. >> and i guess -- i think it creates the appearance of bias and independence. and now it is coming out that your head of security who was paw motted to that role -- promoted to that role after you fired his predecessor did outside work during the 2016 presidential election for american media incorporated, the publisher of "national enquirer." that's when they told the story of president trump having an affair with a playboy playmate. do you think that is a lack of bias? >> i was not aware of the
outside contract. that is being reviewed. >> again, i would say you are not answering the question. i think it creates at least the appearance of bias. we would like to see attention to that. peoplely i guess to follow-up on the first question -- finally to follow-up on the first question, are you willing to produce mr. kelly to answer the questions before this committee? >> i am not staying in the way of mr. kelly to provide information to this committee or any committee. that is a decision he can make and provide any information. >> would you be willing to direct him to come and answer questions. >> i don't know if i have that authority. >> if you had that authority? >> i would encourage him to do so. >> i will take that as a no. >> chair now recognize lady from tennessee for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for being here and we have questions about the budget. we are always interested in ways that we can stop federal over reach. that is something that is so
important to my constituents in tennessee and it is something that we hear about a good bit. they want the e p pa -- the epa to get off their back many times when there are manufacturerstimes, when they are manufacturers and when they are farmers. and as a matter of fact, talking with some of my farmers at mule day, in columbia, tennessee, they were talking about the rot tus rule and i want to ask you about that. because they say that they have to move heaven before they can move earth. and so they want to get the epa off their farms. and they are very grateful that we've had the delay in the rot us rule. and it's important to them hand important to manufacturers. they feel they can move forward and do something and they are not fighting with this rule. so i want you to talk a little
bit, quickly, because i have one other question for you, where we are on the repeal and rewrite on the rot us and the cost of implementing that rule, and what you all have as tear tainted through your cost benefit analysis of what the cost of compliance of that rule would be? >> a couple of things congresswoman in response tour question. first, the decision on repeal as well as replacement to 2015 rule will all occur 2018. we'll be done with this process that year. the compliance dates have been doing, one is rescind 2015 rule, and proposal next month with respect to replacement that will be inspired by justice ska lal yeah and i believe the intent of the clean water act with definition of water in the united states. >> okay. thank you. let's talk about fuel economy
standards. we have auto manufacturers in tennessee. and in franklin. and we have nissan, the plants over in smerna. we have gm in my district in spring hill. you have volkswagen in chattanooga. one of the things they talk is fuel standards and cost per car trying to go to the new economy standards. and you talked about adjusting the standards. so, there again, i want you to talk a little bit about where we are when it comes to adjusting those standards and then what you see as the cost of implementing, and then the cost of compliance? >> congresswoman, as you indicate, we rekrentdly issued a midterm evaluation occurred april of this year. and we determined that the standards that have been set were too ambitious and didn't
meet the facts and data ta that we currently have at present. so we'll be starting very soon a rule making process along with dot to re-evaluate those standards. i think what's important about the cafe standards is we ought to endeavor as a country to set standards for lower emissions on cars that people actually want to buy. and i think what's happened for a number of years is we have created arbitrary levels that has put a certain seg tore of the cars in the marketplace that no one is purchasing which means they stand older vehicles which defeats the purpose of the act. so we are working with dot in collaboration interagency to address that, and that proposed rule will be coming out very soon with dot. >> okay. that sounds great. i think you are exactly right on that and we hear that not only from manufacturers, but from the dealers, that our economy standards have pushed forward vehicles that people don't want
to purchase many times. and so they are staying in the car longer or they buy a bigger car that is heavier that they feel like is going to it be a safer vehicle for them. so i appreciate you being here today. and i'll yield back my 30 seconds. >> thanks. now recognize gentleman from texas for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank the epa for recent announcement agreement brokered between international paper and industrial maintenance corporation, which are responsible parties for the site clean up in texas. over the past ten years congressman poe and i have shared that area, although now it's congressman badist district. our lines change a lot of times in texas, any time a federal court decides it.
so we've been working on it for ten years and i want to thank you for that. the reporting on the agreement stated right now the remed yait yags process expected to take 29 months. do you know or can you say how certain is that time line? because having watched other superfund clean up sites, once you get into it, you always find other problems. >> well, i feel very confident of the timing on that. region 6 there in texas, and headquarters, the partnership that existed there working with the local community is exactly how this should work. there was a temporary solution put in place at san jacinto and threatened the health of citizens in that area and this is permanent that will be provided within the time period it described at a cost of $115 million. >> well, i know that's expensive. but again this area is developing. and for years we've had signs up with the river and upper galveston bay about expectant
mothers shouldn't eat the crab or fish. so when i zb out there i don't see people crabbing or fishing. so it's important to get cleaned up so it can be restored. also an area where we park a lot of our barges in the houston ship channel. and recently the barges break lose in a flood and break the temporary cap they have. and epa has been really good on the job in regional office in dallas to make sure they keep that pollution from continuing to come out. let me gr -- >> if i may, congressman. i think with the hurricanes that came through last year, significant concern about those temporary measures being replaced which hastened a solution to permanent solution. >> hurricane actually broke the temporary dike, but that was coming from the gulf. our problem last year was
flooding many coulding down street that hurt that. and also like i said barges came lose and ran into it. let me talk about the renewal of the gas standard. now i represented five, noup i only have three. but the american petroleum institute in ethanol industry agree a number of waivers the agency has granted under the small refinery exemption under your watch has gotten everyone attention. epa wrote you a letter to them. the law has flexibility. however the reports epa has been given as many as 25 waivers including some some are not providing hardship and some may not that be small. smallest i have in my a yar is 100,000 barrels a day. other ones have two quarter of a million every day.
lack of trans par lack of transparency. but the epa is federal government agency. and sec secrecy is not something they should be worried about gives a feeling of impartiality. do you know how many waivers they received? >> it runs about a year behind. the applications we got in 2017 relate to 2016 obligations. and as i recall some in the m mid-20s we received. we received more than that this year for 2017. what's really driving this h i mentioned this earlier, is the wren prices dropping to 40 sengts, up to 50 cents, and the rest, so you see a lot of pressure on those small refineries particularly, because the escalating wren prices and instability in the market. >> i've said it many times in
this committee over the last ten years, chair has a difference in southern illinois to east houston on the rent issue. has the agency granted any waivers to facilities that output exceeds 75,000 barrels a day? >> we look at it on a facility by facility basis and statute says 75,000 barrels or less. so subjectively determined in that regard. >> gentleman's time is expired. now mr. olson. >> i thank the chairman and mr. prewet pruitt, welcome. i wish your second appearance before this committee was under different circumstances. as you know there has been many press reports about problems at the epa under your watch. these problems can't be solved by congress or this committee. that is not our role. the solution is between you and
president donald trump. you work at his pleasure. and that's pure and simple. but today right now you are america's epa administrator. and my home district of texas needs you to work hard for our district. we are still trying to recover from hurricane harvey. we also have a clean air act that actually works with local officials, local governments to make our air cleaner. instead of pursuing goals that can never be achieved with technology that doesn't exist. our harvey, i have to publicly thank you for two things. first of all, your epa helped my home county break through this whole long thing of regulations to allow us to start dredging our water ways and take care of
that. you did that sir. thank you so much sir letting my home county move forward. also i want to echo from comments from senator green. and by the way this may be the only bipartisan thing you hear in this committee today but it's true. i want to thank you for all the hard work you did to fast track superfund efforts in texas. as you know, hurricane harvey we don't know dioxide canner causing exploded out of there. you stepped up there with a plan to fix that and that will be fixed sometime as you mentioned within the next year or so at the latest. so thank you, thank you, thank you for that. my first question is about ozone and air quality. this committee has heard over and over again how the impacts of ozone and pollution, some of this happens outside of our control, yet for some reason we
have to regulate that. this ozone comes from as far away as china or maybe in close as texas as forest fires a couple of years ago. these causes can create chaos with air rules by local government. they are frustrated, frustrated, frustrated. >> we would ask you to respond quicker to international relief in provisions of the clean air act. for 8 years those were never used before. now you have a great weapon to help us out. how you comply with these new requests from the president, to make sure that actually events in admissions are taken into account with clean air act issues? >> congressman, thanks forbe the
question. very important question. and i think with exceptional events, i think there is probably more latitude we have. you mentioned something else that i think is extremely important and that's the international transport, air transport pollution and ozone. we have nona tanment areas all over this country being caused by what's occurring in asia. there has been much effort and work done by industry and states and citizens across the country to lower emissions of ozone and we have made tremendous success, but many of the problems is caused by others as you indicated particularly in the international arena. so we need to find answers. it may be something that we come back to congress and address on that particular front. exceptional events is different. it's more factually driven thats other issue. but nonetheless very important issue we need to address. >> one final question, very briefly. we have heard over and over about burns placed on states from regulation after regulation after regulation.
last administration would save the same life three times with three different laws and regulations. that puts a huge bind to some local governments and local people trying to comply with the federal laws. do you have the resources that you need in air to issue guidance and making sure working with states we count one life and make these viable? >> well, as we came into this position we had 700 state plans, sin sips, where states implemented where to provide a plan how to improve air quality and sitting on a shelf. we worked on 350 of those. i mentioned that. first place to start is work with state implementation plans. >> time sis expired. >> thank you, mr. chairman. when you were here we talked
about the soundproof to scif at over $40,000. at that time you told me that your view was that expenditure was appropriate despite the fact there were two other scifs at the epa. is that correct? >> this is actually not a scif. >> well, whatever it is your soundproof booth. you expressed your view was appropriate? yes or no. >> i didn't express $43,000 was appropriate. >> you won't answer my question. 710 of the services and general appropriations act and anti-deficient act yes or no sir? >> general counsel at the agency. >> so you are not going to answer that question either. do you know whether anyone of your staff knew that that expenditure violated these two laws, yes or no, sir. >> they have indicated their opinion is it's not a violation. >> so you won't answer that question. if we can please give the witness a copy of the april
16th, 2018 letter. are you familiar with thatler from the jao, yes or no? >> i'm familiar with the jao decision, yes. >> thank you. and in that decision -- >> generally suspend for a moment. can we zeta copy of that? >> certainly i'd be happy to. ask it be placed in the record. >> after we look at it we probably will. after we are waiting, we will accept that other letter that you asked to be submitted. without objection, so ordered. you may continue. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. now the conclusion of this was that these two laws were violated. is that correct? >> their conclusion is those statutory requirements were not followed by the agency. >> yes. now did you know about that at the time? >> i did not. >> did your staff know about that at the time? >> about what congresswoman? >> about these two laws that were supposed to be complied with before the expenditure
happened. yes or no? >> as i indicated office of general counsel career individuals at the agency. >> you can't filibuster sir. >> i'm not doing that. i'm trying to answer a question. >> let me ask you this, the epa has ability to have penalties for this illegal activity. will you or your staff? >> we are investigating this internally with appropriate individuals both here as well as -- >> so you don't know. all right so my next question sir, would you agree that public officials should be held to the highest standards of ethical conduct? >> i believe that, yes. >> yes. now, in that vane, i want to ask you about two troubling financial housing transactions that you've been involved with as a state, then a federal elected official. in 2003, you were in oklahoma state senator with a state salary of $38,400, correct? >> and also an attorney with a law practice. >> correct. >> and also an attorney with a
law practice. >> no you you lived in a second home near the state capital purchased by a shell company capital house llc from a lobbyist marshall lindsey, correct? >> it was not a shell company. >> okay. but it was an llc capital house, correct? >> which is normally how you buy real estate in oklahoma. >> yes or no would work. >> i'm seeking to answer your question, congresswoman. >> okay. what was your financial investment in capital house llc? >> it was one sixth of the purchase price as i recall. >> so what do you remember the amount? >> i do not. i did not know the purchase price. >> so you put that amount into the llc. is that right? >> that was the portion that i was responsible for, yes. >> and did you actually pay that amount into the llc? >> i did. >> thank you. now, it's been reported that another lawmaker rented a room in that home and paid rent to you. although you never listed your share in the shell company or that rent on your financial disclosures. is that correct? >> i don't ever recall that. >> okay. was that rental income distributed among the owners of
the shell company in the proportion that you contributed to the company? >> k ones were issued to each of the individual members. those were reported as income through our tax filings. and so all income -- >> did you pay taxes on that income. >> we did. >> could we get that information, sir? did you personally pay taxes on your income from that rental? >> i can provide you the k one. >> that would be great. did you pay taxes on that income? >> as i indicated, i received a k one. >> i know you received a k one. did you pay taxes on that income? >> it was provided to our accountant in our filing. >> so you are not going to answer that question either? >> i'm answering the question. >> did you pay taxes on the income that you got for your share? >> congresswoman, as you know, you provide information to your accountant, they determine what you pay. >> so you are not going to answer that question. now, i have some other questions about your d.c. condo but i'm out of time. and i just want to say to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, and also to you, i'm not doing this to hassle you.
i'm doing this because as an elected officials and a pointed officials, we have the public trust. everything we do has to be to the highest ethical standard as you just agreed with me. and when we have these transactions, it brings disrespect on us as -- >> time has expired. >> so i'm going to continue this and i hope you would be forthcoming with this committee. thank you. >> expired. unanimous requests will be respected and put your letter into the record. the chair now recognizes gentleman from ohio, mr. johnson, for five minutes. >> mr. chairman, you know, i served for 26 and a half years in the united states air force. and i do believe that public officials have a standard of conduct that should be beyond reproach. but so should members of
congress. and i think it's shameful today that this hearing has turned into a personal attack hearing and a shameful attempt to denigrate the work that's being done at the epa and with this administration and make this a personal attack rather than focus on what we are here to talk about, which is the budget and the functioning and the policy work being done at the epa. so i'm going to try to redirect my questioning to you, mr. pruitt. under the provision, under the previous administration, epa put severe squeezes on job opportunities and businesses in eastern and south eastern ohio, by the way we didn't make personal attacks when that happened, we talked about policy at the time. and this has had, you know, our district has abundance of fossil energy resources and energy opportunities.
today we have an epa that recognizes the importance of those jobs and is willing to work with the states like ohio to provide a healthy balance between jobs and environmental regulations. that approach has made a real difference in my state and in my district. and i applaud those efforts at restoring sensibility. along those lines i'd like to talk a bit about new source review and the agencies work today on some of the issues surrounding new source review. in february, this committee held a hearing exploring the challenges that new source review standards posed for our energy and infrastructure investments and opportunities. we learned that many companies avoid carrying out projects to improve existing facilities because they are afraid of being targeted by an epa enforcement action for having incorrectly n interpreted new source review requirements. i've been encouraged to see the guidance memos clarifying
certain nsr requirements and policies. so mr. prewett, from your perspective, what is the goal of these nsr guidance memos and what impact are they having? >> one of the greatest issues that i think we are dealing with at the agency to address. that which companies want to do across the country which is invest. invest in capital, infrastructure to improve reduction of emissions. so what we want to do is provide clarity. you mentioned a couple of memos. once always in approach along with second netting approach. so we are engaged in those kinds of initial steps. but over all we are looking atta comprehensive rule that will address new source rule in order to provide certainty and clarity to those across the country that as they make investments to improve outcomes as far as emission reductions that they won't face new requirements under the clean air act.
>> do you think the nsr program can be further performed so we can protect our air quality? >> i do. i think the clean air was last 1990, 28 years ago, so i think there are provisions that should be looked at, and that's one. >> and in regards to the clean air act, how is the epa striving to provide more flexibility in deference to state agencies? >> well, as mentioned earlier, we are providing guidance in many programs, encouraging states to be active partners there. but one of the things i think is essential with respect to air quality is utilization of state improvement plans and us being responding to those departments of environmental quality, department of natural resources, to work with them in close partnership to adopt those plans in a timely way. it really sends a bad message when states take those steps, invest, and don't get a response
from the agency for years, and air quality suffers as well. >> well, i have some other questions, but i'm running out of time. lastly, i know that epa has expressed interest in finding a resolution to some of the concerns regarding epa's current brick mac rule, which was issued in 2015. will you commit to working with me and this committee and providing further information on this work and any potential possibilities comply ants dates are right around the corner. kpoik and it's important to provide this industry with common seg regulatory certainty? >> yes, congressman, absolutely. >> thank you. mr. chairman t i yield back. >> recognize from california. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. pruitt since becoming epa administrator, you are filled with things but not with
environmental or public health groups. seems deep pockets are prehe can sit on getting spot on your calendar. mr. pruitt isn't it true that you and your affiliated political things received $4 million? >> congressman, i haven't looked at those numbers in sometime so i'm unsure. >> i can assure you it is that's example pay to play. on june 5, 2017 you announced epa halted in pla mentation of the methane rule. this was attempt to retroactively delay the rules requirements on oil and gas industry for 90 days. a few weeks prior to that, on may 24th, 2017, you spoke to the american exploration and production council. mr. pruitt, was your june 5th actions made in response to a request by the american exploration and production council or any of its individual members? >> methane is something we take very seriously and we'll will regulate.
in fact, we have proposals that we are considering now to regulate methane going forward as part of the voc approach. and so methane is -- >> so you are not answering my question. you had a meeting -- >> the actions taken then were unrelated to any meetings or events. it was actions to provide certainty to those in the marketplace with respect to methane. >> i ask this oil and gas production company is a member of the american exploration and production council. contra resources also happens to be represented by the washington d.c. lobbying firm william and general son. you made these decisions on the methane rule that would directly benefit williams and general son's client while living in a capitol hill condo then by lobbyist of $50 a night. i wonder what the owners got or tried to get in return for their generosity? this is another example of pay to play. arbitrarily delaying a rule is
illegal and the d.c. circuit court your actions to be in es cess of statutory authority. mr. chairman choik, i have a statement from the american association for the advancement of science on the epa administrator plan to eliminate scientific. i'd like to have this in the record. >> if you can pass it over. >> do you have kconfidence for transparency and good science? >> i'm sure their opinion is credible. >> well, thank you. then how can you justify the proposed rule disallowing science that was supported by these agencies? >> well, actions that we take at the agency are different than their responsibilities. we actually issue rules of jenna public ability that apply to people all over the country and we need to ensure that the science that we use that under
opinions those rules. >> they are prak professional scientists. mr. pruitt by reducing standards you allow more pollution and america use and make u.s. cars less competitive with overseas manufacturers. yes or no did the $4 million influence your decision? >> the decision we made on midterm evaluation was decision based upon the record. >> administrator pruitt, i find it disturbing that you appeared to personally benefit from any of your decisions and action that is will ultimately harm the people of this country, especially people who have no ability to defend themselves. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> recognizes gentleman from texas. >> thank you. >> we have a lot of texans here. >> that's right. administrator pruitt thank you for joining us today. let me start with renewable fuel
standard. while i'm pleased agency is beginning to look at authorities after 202 2rks i'd like to respectfully remind epa actions prior to that time limited by statute. accordingly i request agency work with congress, mr. welch and me as we try to have solutions. good for the american consumers, good for the agricultural interests. and really good for all impacted stakeholders. a few minutes ago mr. respondes trying to defend the epa practice under the prior administration of using hidden science to develop policy solutions. and you weren't given a chance to regard your efforts to open that process up and become more transparent with scientific studies. can you spend about 30 seconds dedescribing what you were trying to do to make science inside epa more transparent especially because it's paid for by the american taxpayer. >> it seems to me it's common
sense. that is, we do rule making at the agency. when we base it upon a record, scientific conclusions, that we should be able to see the data and methodology that actually cause those conclusions. that just makes common sense to me. only change we are making. any third party study, we are agnostic about how adopts the study, we are simply saying to all third party science, they need to have methodology, data, and findings packaged together so we can make informed decision about the efficacy of their scientific findings. >> so i think you and i both agree american people should see the science. it shouldn't be hidden as it was in the previous administration. so thank you for making that more transparent. no to you my questions, "a" the american people epa under obama abused regulatory process by circumventing u.s. constitution.
fortunately the federal court system stepped in to protect american families from this abuse of the rule of law. i'll go the questions first and you can respond supplementary if you'd like to. can you provide the economy with over overturned regulations overturned by the court systems? provide this committee with economic committee of those costs? and also inform the committee about epa's actions if any to modify those regulations? so those over reaching regulations to conform with the rule of law? >> yes, in all fronts. >> hide ask you to do it supplementary in interests of time. >> chair recognizes in michigan. >> thank you, mr. chairman. administrator pruitt, yesterday i sent you a letter on epa jan 25, 2018 guidance to reverse the long standing once in always in policy for major sources of
hazardous air pollutants. this document rolls back one of the bedrock safe guards to limit factories and industrial operations. the clean air act has epa protect public health. these pollutants are the worst of the worst. and they include many that cause cancer in children, like mercury, arsonic, and led. the law focuses on eliminating this pollution from industrial sources by requiring them to control their emissions using the maximum achievable control technology. the once in, always in policy insured that polluters continued to clean up their act and didn't back side on their progress. but in the january 25th guidance, you punched a huge giant loophole in these critical health protections essentially allowing sources to increase their toxic air emissions with
no consequences. at a senate hearing in january, you were asked about the new once in always in guidance and indicated quote it was a decision made outside of the air program office. it was a policy office decision, unquote. at the time you didn't seem aware of the details. and that happens when things are, you've got a lot of stuff. but i'm hoping now that you've had more time to familiarize yourself. and i'd like to ask you some questions. it's not clear whether epa has any idea how many sources might increase their emissions of hazardous air pollutants as a rule of this policy change. and i would like to ask you some yes or no questions. yes or no. did epa determine which sources and how many would be covered by this policy change before releasing the jan 25th guidance? >> yes. there was a review of those issues. >> yes or no. thank you. >> and i would say to you this
was incentive to companies to actually invest in emissions. >> okay. did you, yes or no, did epa determine the location of these sources? >> that's something i would have to -- i don't know about the locations. >> please for the record yes or no did epa provide that. yes or no, did epa assess the magnitude of hazardous air pollution that could increase as a result of the january 25 guidance? >> it's actually a benefit with respect to providing incentive as i init cad to those major -- >> yes or no. >> i understand they looked at that, yes. >> has epa initiated or completed any of the previously mentioned analysis since the release of january 25th guidance? >> the work that was done was in support of the guidance that was issued. >> it's also not clear whether epa looked at the health of this decision. yes or no did the epa potential increase risk of cancer of this decision before releasing the january 25th guidance memo?
>> that's something we'll have to provide and verify. >> yes or no, did epa conduct analysis of the potential health effects of this policy on children, babies or pregnant women before releasing the jan 25th? >> that's something we'll have to assess and provide. >> yes or no, did epa conduct analysis of the potential health effects of this policy on older americans or those with chronic health problems before releasing the january 25th guidance. >> i hate to be redundant but that's something we'll have to assess and provide. >> yes or no, did health effects of this policy on minority and low income communities before releasing the january 25th? >> i would answer the same way. >> in the absence of information from epa, a number of independent groups have taken it upon themselves to analyze the potential toxics impacts this policy would have on communities near and downwind from major sources. they found that the chemical industry stands to benefit substantially from this loophole. have you met with any industry
representatives who requested the repeal of this once in, always in policy? >> again, this was a decision to provide incentive to companies to invest to lower emissions. >> there is no incentives for pollution. i'm going to conclude with one different subject because this is very important to me. he you recently concluded midterm election of fuel economy standards for mod tell years 2022 to 2025. it is my deep belief that the auto companies, their workers, and the consumers have benefited from having one national program for fuel economy. and that it's critical to preserve that moving forward. the importance of these standards besides saving energy, reducing emissions, is the certainty that businesses need. i'm deeply worried about reports that california doesn't matter to you. >> the time is expiring. >> all right. i just want to say it's my hope that we can have one national
program moving forward. if you do, we work on it together. everybody wins. >> time has expired. >> if we don't the nation loses. >> submission into the record the statement from the american association for advancement of sciences. just for our colleagues note, the chief executive officer is a guy named rush holt who you'll all remember. chair now recognizes gentleman from north carolina mr. hudson for five minutes. >> thank you. thank you for being here today. i have two areas of questions i want to jump into with you first relates to the chemical x back home in north carolina. in your testimony you highlighted importance of safe drinking water and epa efforts to pro-actively protect source water as address contamination concerns. as i'm sure you are aware, my state north carolina is facing concerns with jen x. i've engaged with you several times in the past. my concern is we have chemical spreading that we do not know
enough about. i'm worried on epa website you say management plan for the related family of chemicals won't be developed until the fall of 2018. two days ago i received the office of water addressing some but not all of our questions that i've asked about jen x. i understand epa has posted scientific literature related to jen x on website but epa is developing things to aid states refining public health goals. i would just ask, sir, what information is epa seeking that literature does not always provide? pan when the results of the information be available to the public? >> very important issue. and i have talked to the governor there in north carolina. and it's something i'm aware of the issues in north carolina. we will have a toxicity review by the summer. >> summer. >> with respect to jen x. as you know, this is an iteration beyond this, jen x was
chemical. i'm very concerned about its impact. and we are accelerating that talktox review. but we've been in communication with north carolina and the governor about that. >> i appreciate the attention you put on this. what were the updates to epa updates to jen x compounds found in the water samples? and what about the findings can you discuss now? >> with respect to the toxicity review or other studies? >> well, independent laboratory analysis of the compounds that was done. >> that's part of the work being done to support the tox review that will occur this summer. then there will be additional standards in the future. but what we are trying to do is work with states like north carolina that have an eminent concern and trying though provide them guidance as they adopt state responses as well. >> okay. well, then i don't know if you are able to make a conclusion yet, but was jen x used in a
manner incompatible with the control act? are you in a position to determine that? >> that's not something we can speak to at this point but i'll get you the information. >> i appreciate the seriousness you are taking this and work with our governor on this. so thank you on that. >> governor cooper has been very concerned and important we address it with him and the state. >> great. thank you. i'd like to pivot now and discuss another area that you highlighted as pry yorts for the agency which is clean air. in the 47 years since enact. clean air act epa has never taken action vehicles on tracks for racing. do you support this policy? >> the policy of taking no enforcement? >> yes, sir. >> i think it's wise, yes. >> i appreciate that. and in 2015 under the previous administration epa slipped a few sentences unrelated rule that proposed to repeal this policy. and after a public out cry they
backed off. but they sort of left some ambiguity there about the legality of this. would you support legislation clarifying that vehicles can be modified for racing? and that doing so does not violate the antietam perring clean air act as long as they are not used on public roads? >> itsds always helpful to us to get congressional clarity on these issues, so absolutely. >> great. i appreciate that. i appreciate the time you've given us here today. and thank you for your focus on clean air and clean water, goals that we all share. with that i yield back. >> okay. from california, five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. administrator pruitt, it's reported at tht point that most of your sport supporters are from the oil gas and coal industries. regulations you've prolonged weaken is water pollution, methane gas emissions from oil and gas, operations, air pollution from glider trucks,
formaldehyde, all translate into additional profits with those industries but negatively impact public health. so it doesn't come as much of a surprise that you determined in the midterm evaluation that the stronger vehicle standards are too stringent. i strongly disagree. there is a robust record to support the need for stronger standards and the ability of technology to achieve them. highlighted by the 1,200 page technical assessment report issued by the epa. administrator pruitt, you have stated many times you intended to operate at the epa on the basis of cooperative federalism and the rule of law. but whether n it comes to calif and vehicle emission standards all of a sudden neertd of these concepts seem to apply. you made it clear you do not favor california's waiver under which the state sets grown house gas emission standards for
vehicles. and you stated california should not have, quote, an outside influence on vehicle standards. but this position is inconsistent with your preference for states rights. and more importantly it is inconsistent with the law. california special status with respect to vehicle emission regulation has been enshiernd in federal law for over 50 years. section 209 b of the clean air states the administrator shall, not may, shall, grant a waiver to any state if the state not the agency determines the state's standards will be at least as protective of public health and welfare as a federal standards. the auto manufacturers have repeatedly said that they do not want the protracted legal fight that would inevitably occur if epa moved to evoke california's waiver. but many of the public statements allude to the agency moving in that direction. so i would ask you, does agency intend to initiate proceedings
to revoke california's waiver? yes or no. >> flnot at present. in fact, we work very closely with california on ts issue. i've sent epa representatives in california. >> so that is no? >> to meet with them. it's important that we work together to achieve t as was indicated earlier, national standard. >> okay. so it's really not a yes or no. >> congresswoman, we are working diligently with california. >> okay. >> to find answers on this issue. >> okay. well, i believe your answer should be a no. because you've said you want a national program, tan you won't get this without california's agreement. the law requires you to set standards and protect public health and welfare. california standards does just that. california agreed to initial program to enter into agreement to accomplish that goal. if you challenge the waiver or significantly weaken the standards, you are not following the rule of law.
if you are in enact doing what you were ha pointed to do, what you said were you going to do, you must uphold the law and set protective standards. so far you've demonstrated no intention to do that, that is why the entire country needs california's waiver to ensure that public health and environment are protected even in the face of an administrator who cares maybe more about repaying special interests than about safe guarding the public's interests. now, administrator pruitt, i believe to a question that you answered from miss black burn, earlier you said the epa has data supporting your decision to revise emission standards for light duty vehicles. will you commit to providing that data to both sides of the committee by the end of the day? and that's a yes or no. >> we actually have two responsibilities under this process. one is midterm evaluation. and proposed rule make that will occur.
so we will provide the data to you that gave rise to the midterm evaluation. >> will you provide it at the end of the day? >> i'll instruct the team to get that together and get that to you as soon as possible. >> the end of the day, yes? >> i'll instruct my team to get that and get that to soon as possible. >> within a week then? >> well, we'll get it to you as soon as possible congresswoman. >> i'll hold you to that. >> yes. >> thank you. i yield back. >> thank you. chair now recognizes gentleman from north dakota, mr. cramer for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. administrator for lots of things. first of all for being here. and once again i never cease to be impressed with incredible defendant depth of knowledge you have on things. the more knowledge you have people demand. and they expect you to know everything. and i have to say in my years, i
never had a cabinet official know so much. so thank you. i also want to thank you for your commitment to cooperative federalism. it is something that has been lost in previous administrations, including by some of your critics that were predecessors to you. and the restoration of it is no small matter. and i want you to know the people on behalf of north dakota how much we appreciate your approval of states application for primacy over class 6 wells which are co 2 wells. so i think it's a clear demonstration of the policy. i'm also, i have to say, i'm somewhat struck by some of the accusations that have come at you today. for example, you were accused of picking winners and losers with your policy. and i have to ask stnt the clean power plan at its very core the picking of winners and losers by
trying to reg late electric generation outside of the fence line? isn't that a picking of winners? >> well, the agency in reespn's to that actually defined a best system of emission reduction under the statute is being able to coerce local level how you generate electricity. so i think by definition that was almost picking winners and losers. >> you've also been an accused of hypocrisy. lack of transparency by people who in the same breathe are defending secret science as a means of carrying out their political philosophy. all the while accusing you have being the id log in the room. the irony is beyond me. >> it applies to all third party studies of every time. many members on this committee if epa went out and provided a
study and didn't provide data, provided conclusions to epa, tan they rule making with methane, there would be tremendous concerns about that. so it applies to all third party science irrespective of the source. simply says
data, methodology, conclusions matter, and the american people need to it be able to consume that. >> it seems to me, and i appreciate shated tshated the inquiry earlier asking for the names of every victim of every pollution source that's ever happened in the world, that's been sourced in any study. not asking for personal data. we are asking simply for the science to be revealed. you can protect personal data, right? >> both the personal data, as well as confidential business information, both cbi and personal information can be redacted, it can be addressed, and still serve the purposes of the proposed rule.
>> i have to say, i think out of all the accusations today, it was interesting after about four minutes of defending the swamp, one of their leaders said so much for draining the swamp. mr. administrator, i think the greatest sin that you've committed, if any, you've actually done what president trump ran on, won on and commissioned you to do in finding some blns in both carrying out mission of environmental protection law at the same time looking out for our economy and jobs creation. and i just, again, from the people in north dakota, appreciate that so much. in my remaining minute, if you would take sometime to just elaborate a little bit more on the new source review issue. because in north dakota we have a number of existing plants that are finding it very difficult to even meet the spirit of the intent, if you will, of new source review. and i think it just seems to be working against it. >> i think for the american people as we talk about, what new source review is, when have you a company that wants to invest, sometimes hundreds of
millions of dollars in their facilities to reduce pollution, they refuse to do so because if they invest too much it's considered a major modification to the facility, which then requires what, additional permitting responsibilities which they may not get. so dealing with new source review is something that is very, very important to actually innoce innocent voois who want to invest in better outcomes. it was taukted to once in always in, that is what it is. you have major and minor emitters. what we said if you are major emitter and invest and reduce pollution down to minor levels you can be rewarded for that and actually i think innocent ta advised to do that. >> time is expired. recognize from california for five minutes. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman, for calling this hearing, and also i marked your words that you said that today hopefully we are going to be talking about policy and stewardship. so i hope that we can get that
on the record as well on both of those fronts. mr. pruitt, welcome to the people's house. list of failures is wrong and waste full spending is embarrassment to government and very offensive to the taxpayers who pay all of our salaries. this administration is so packed with unethical behavior, but yet at the same time you have to understand that your power directly impacts health and well-being of vulnerable populations in this country, seniors, our children, our sick, and our disabled. it's tempting to ask why you spent nearly 68,000 on hotels in travel august through february, five months and 50,000 modifications to your office including a privacy book, and over size desk that cost over $2,000. but we already know some of these purchases were made in violation of federal laws. when you appeared before the subcommittee in december, this
subcommittee, you said that your phone booth is it used for classified conversations and sensitive conversations with the white house. has this $43,000 phone booth, has it been certified as a scif, and, also, so using it for classified conversations, is that appropriate? >> it has not been certified as a scif and it discrimination provide protection on confidential communications. and i think it's important, congressman, to knoll where this originated. i did have a phone call that came in of a sensitive nature and i did not have access to secure communication. i gave access to my staff to address that. and out of that came a $43,000 expenditure that i did not approve. that is something that should not have occurred in the future. >> so you are not taking responsibility for the $43,000 spent in your office, you are saying staff did it without your knowledge? >> took that process through and signed off on it all the way through. >> so you were not involved in
that? >> i was nolts involved in the approval of the $43,000 and if i had known about it i would have refused it. >> okay. that seems a bit odd. if something happens in my office especially to the degree of $43,000 i know about it before, during and after. but anyway let me get onto my next point. i'm sure you can see the irony of this $43,000 expenditure even though you are saying before the public not taking responsibility. epa is far from unlimited. when you coma dear public resources for personal use, other life saving activities do suffer. in floert troubling example, epa appointee came back with you oklahoma recently large raise over the white house objections reportedly went out to open houses in search for a condo for you. mr. pruitt, i hope you understand that using public employees for your private business is illegal. turning now to your highly
questionable condo least from vicy hea vicki heart, i find typically government. >> i'm not aware of any government time from hub. she is a friend of my wife and myself and has been for a number of years and she's a friend. >> you stated for the record she didn't use her official time chblt thank you very much. but did anybody -- any of the attorneys at the epa look at your least before you signed? >> it took place afterwards. >> afterwards. and what did they say about that lease ach wards when they reviewed it? >> they said that the rent paid was comparable, at least actually was comparable. >> did they state that in writing or verbally. >> actually in writing. >> can you get a copy of that to the committee? >> ethics opinions to you, yes. >> thank you. also recently reported that attorney general of oklahoma, as
attorney general of oklahoma, you reassigned an investigative staff of the office to be your personal driver and security team. are those reports accurate? >> i'm not aware of what you are referring to, congressman. >> okay. all right. to my next question. in a parent attempt to rebut reports, your agency published data in february claiming a large increase in penalties against polluters but that data included the penalties assessed by the obama administration. in fact, 90% of those numbers that you reported were actually assessed by the previous administration. did you intentionally claim credit for the enforcement actions taken by the obama administration to obscure your weak record on enforcement. yes or no. >> in fact the obama administration cut into agents at that office. we have increased number of agents in that office. >> thank you. >> gentleman's time is expired. >> i want to show you a picture. >> chair recognizes from
michigan. >> the gentleman will suspend. his time is expired. the chair will recognize the gentleman from michigan for five minutes. >> thank you. >> and i would thank the administrator for being here. i appreciate you taking the time to do this. it's important for us as we work in a relationship. constitutional relationship that we have time with you. so thank you for being here. and thank you for your policy efforts as you perform your functions. administrator pruitt, last time you were before this committee, you told me that, i quote, the great lakes restoration initiative is something that we should work together to make sure is achieving good outcomes. and i think it has. and we will continue that discussion as we head into 2018. i appreciate those words, but we have seen a lack of support for the glri. again, in this fy 19 budget request, the glri was funded at $30 million by this
administration. obviously, i was and am not okay with that level of funding. and worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the great lakes caucus effort to restore full funding, which we did, for that. and i certainly would love to stand on the banks of one of the great lakes in my district, lake eery, and discuss what is so important with 20% of the world's fresh water resources being in the great lakes and what a job we've attempted to make that work to for us. do you believe 30 million. >> is adequate for such critical program? >> i commend what congress has done to address that. i think it restored it to $30 million in omnibus. and i remain committed to you. >> will you make la request to the administration to work with us 0en that? >> i'll continue to do that,
congressman. >> i'd appreciate that because it's important and i think, again, it's something that we want to, in the great lakes region, take care of that resource as good stewards, and i believe you do as well. >> the challenge is there. invasivethere, the invai invasive species is an issue. i was actually in region five earlier this week. obviously they're very focused on those efforts as well. i hope that we can find better outcomes on the funding levels. >> with invasive species and algae bloom, which has been significant, touching my district, across the line in ohio as well. when we discussed last time, you mentioned that there would be an interest -- you said it's something that we ought to do going forward and ensure there's a partnership like that, specifically referring to agriculture and interior. have you had an opportunity to
talk with sonny perdue or ryan zinke about this issue? >> the secretary purdue and i have talked about issues with respect to geographical focal areas. ryan and i have not. i think it's important for states like to great lakes initiative, you have states that have joined together partnering with the federal government to achieve better outcomes. >> is there anything i can do to assist in bringing that coalition together? i'd be delighted to stand on the banks of lake erie with you and ryan zinke. >> we ought to do that together with the other two individuals as well. >> next coppic is ttopic is the threat of invasive species. i believe we have an administration right now that isn't committed to some of the
shipping interests in illinois and indiana that there were before. we have a water resource that could be impacted in many different ways, recreationally, commercially as well if asian carp, one of those species were to get into the great lakes. can you please provide an update on what your efforts have been with the army corps of engineers that have been dragging their oars in the water for too long on this issue? have you had any contact with them? >> i have had contact with secretary epers and arty james. i don't remember speaking about this particular issue. i appreciate you making me aware of it. we will talk to them about their involvement. >> if you could get on that, that is so significant. we've seen dna that have come from carp in the great lakes
thus far, we're not seeing the impact to the fish themselves. we can't have that happen. if it happens, there's no turning back. this is an environmental protection issue. i hope that you'll check into that further and i certainly would like to check with your office. >> the gentleman's time has expired. >> thank you, mr. pruitt for being here. i have the honor and privilege of representing the first congressional district of georgia which include the entire coast of georgia and the savannah harbor. the expansion project is a billion dollar project, the most important development project in our state's history next the internet history. it supports the infrastructure and economic principles laid out by president trump. it is exactly that. this is what he has been talking about when he's been talking about investing in the infrastructure in our country. it is one of the most studied projects in the history of
mankind. we started this project in the late '90s. since that time, three ports in china have been started and completed, yet this is not completed yet. back when you were here in december, i brought to your attention the tier 4 emissions standards being required for the harbor pilots and the problem it was causing them then. unless we can get those ships in and out of port, it does us no good to invest a billion dollar into this project. i spoke to you in december about the tier four emissions standards. this was after months of our staffs going back and forth to discuss this. since that time almost five months ago i've had the harbor
pilots come to washington at their own expense to meet with your staff. your staff was completely unprepared. it was a complete waste of time for the harbor pilots to be here. you gave me a commitment back in december that you would look into this. i need to know where we're at with this. this is extremely important for us. can you give me an idea of where we're at with this? >> first, my apologies to you and your constituents if we weren't responsive. i will check on those issues. my apologies there. secondly, we are actually sending representatives i think to california to meet with the architect on the construction of the vessels to determine -- >> when will they be going to california? >> i think this month. >> april? >> may. i'm sorry. >> so next month? >> yes. >> can i have a commitment that we're going to get this fixed? are you personally looking into this? >> i am now.
>> as of today? >> yeah. >> but you told me you were in december. i want to believe you. >> my communications to the team in december were to take steps. apparently that has not been done. >> that has not been done. >> i will be personally engaged going forward. >> i certainly hope so. i want to help you because i want you to help me. this is extremely important. this is the largest economic development project in the state of georgia since the internet system. we've got to have this done. the manufacturer is telling us they cannot meet the tier four emission standards and build these vessels that they need. >> i think it's also a competitive situation with other regulations outside of our agency that are causing a certain type of vessel along with the engine. there is work to be done. >> i just need a commitment. can i have a commitment from you that this will be resolved in 30 days? >> you have a commitment for me to get engaged with our air
office to have answers. >> can i have a commitment that you will get this resolved as soon as you can? >> i will find answers to this within 30 days. >> i can't stress to you how important this is. also the tier four emissions standards are causing problems with generators. they're not able to build the large one megawatt generators. i represent the entire coast of georgia. they are hurricanes in georgia. will you commit to reviewing the tier four standards to see if they're practical and rational? >> yes. i'll engage in conversations around this issue with our office to see what the options are. >> biobutinol it's an
alternative fuel. >> i can verify that. >> please do. the etenol additives cause damage to marine engines. we need that to come to market. when this comment period is up, i hope that you will act on it. >> pathway for advanced categories into the rfs? >> yes. >> chair recognizes the gentleman from mississippi for five minutes, mr. harper. >> administrator pruitt, welcome. it appears that it's become a political blood sport to try to destroy anybody associated with the trump administration. but i want to say thank you for what your agent's done and the attention they've given to the new source performance standards for residential wood heaters. that was very helpful to some
employers that were in real danger of not being able to meet a particular deadline. i appreciate the work that your agency has done on that. i also want to ask you a few questions. i need to ask you about a series of media reports that i found particularly concerning. according to these reports, at least five epa officials have been reassigned, demoted or requested to switch jobs because they raised concerns about your spending and management of the agencies. you've already testified this morning that these actions were based on other reasons. but even the itmplication of retaliation can have an impact on the morale of employees. can you explain these allegations and tell us what steps epa takes to investigate allegations. >> there's no true to the assertion that decisions have been made about reassignment or otherwise as far as employment status based upon the things that you reference.
i'm not aware of that ever happening. it's something i want to make very very clear. the individuals -- i don't know to whom you reference across the board, but the folks that i am aware of, two of those individuals are ses individuals serving in other capacities. they're actually still employees of the agency. i just want to emphasize very very clearly to you that there's no actions that we have taken that i'm aware of related in any way to the issues that you raise as far as reassignment or employment action based upon that. >> can you assure me and the employees of the epa that all whistle blower complaints are takele serious ln seriously at you'll do your best to make sure whistle bhoe lowers are protect from retaliation. >> absolutely. this is not one of those situations but absolutely that is something i can commit to you
and will commit to you. >> i've had some of my constituents raise an issue regarding oil spill response training. i'm told that the funding for certain training courses for federal and local responders involved in inland oil spill prevention and cleanup have been eliminated and that the epa environmental response team is no longer able to consistently make these courses available. with an increase in oil production across the country, there remains a need for oil spill response training for local, state and federal responders. the would you be willing to commit to looking into whether funding can and will be made available for what we believe is very important training? >> yes, congressman. i agree with that. >> over the last six years, epa has used its discretion to reduce and perhaps eliminate the effectiveness of the on site technical assistance appropriated by congress to small and rural communities in
my home state of mississippi, including terminating funding for my state's two full-time epa funding circuit rider positions. my rural and small communities have told me numerous times, however, that this is the best and most helpful assistance with epa water standards and unfunded mandates. to address this problem in 2015, congress passed and the president signed a version of my bill the grassroots the small community water assistance act solely to stop this problem that was caused by epa and still continues today. so this bill requires epa to give preference to the technical assistance that small and rural communities find the most beneficial and effective. on april 11th of 2018 epa announced the award of technical assistance grants. it was my hope that would have returned the two full-time positions to mississippi and the
other states. yet i'm told that there is less help with epa mandates to small and rural communities. did epa conduct a review of what small communities find is most beneficial? >> those tag grants are so important. when you reference small and rural communities, some of our water infrastructure, we think about the dense markets across the country. those rural communities also need tremendous assistance. those tag grants are something that should be a focus in that area that you raised and i will look into the status of that for you. >> chair recognizes the gentleman from illinois, mr. rush, for five minutes. >> administrator, i must say unlike my colleague no thank you, no thank you to the policies of the environmental protection agency under your
tenure. but in my home city of chicago, we're in a dire situation. as reported in a recent tribune article entitled "rain damaging lead found in tap water in hundreds of homes tested across chicag chicago." this article is written april 12th. the article went onto state that in the nearly 2800 homes tested between 2015 and 2017, close to 70% were found elevated levels of lead. iing contained the max amount in bottled water by the
fda. understanding epa is currently considering revisions to the lead and copper rule. this rule was supposed to have been issued last year when the agency under your leadership has repeatedly delayed any action on this. we have also delayed action on the lead renovation, repair and painting rule for commercial buildings. and your recent proposal on scientific data -- the epa from considering landmark studies. what you have misleadingly have termed, quote, secret science, end quote. these important studies are critical in identifying potential risks to public health, including those related to lead contamination, cancer
related to smoking as well as the health impact associated with other dangerous contaminants. i would like to hear from you on how the agency will move to phase out lead in drinking water such as replacement of lead service lines, as well as your justification for your -- on the scientific data. i've also been concerned by some of your public statements, expressing relief that there might be a safe level of lead and suggesting that lead contamination of drinking water is caused by super fund sites as opposed to lead piping. administrator, you well know even your own agency has declared that there are no safe levels of lead for consumption.
according to the cdc even consuming tiny amounts of lead can permanently damage the developing brain of children and contribute to kidney failure, heart disease and other severe health problems. i also understand that this issue of replacing lead piping will require billions of dollars to remediate this problem on a national level. so i would like to hear from you on ways that the epa might provide financing and other mechanisms to help address this issue. you know the administration's fy 19 budget proposal is proposing $863 million on drinking water state revolving funds.
the most recent needs survey estimates that it would cost over some $472 million on capital improvements between the years 2015 to 2034. i will ould like to hear from yn what steps the epa will take to address these critical issues. >> the gentleman's time has expired. >> if i may, mr. chairman? >> just for a short minute. >> there is no safe level of lead in our drinking water. it is something we need to act aggressively on as an agency and a country. we've estimated it's about $45 billion to replace the lead
service lines across the country. i really believe we can prioritize funding up to 4 billion a year over a ten-year process or thereabouts, achieve tremendous -- >> gentleman's time has expired. chair now recognizes the gentleman from virginia, mr. griffith for five minutes. >> continuing along these lines, thank you, administrator pruitt. if we could submit for the record the article from the roanoke times from today, virginia tech team gets epa grant to engineer citizen science water quality project. as you will recall in the previous administration, there was a regional epa administrator who looked the other way. the michigan problem became a problem but it was exposed by mark edwards, a professor at virginia tech because he went out there on his own dime and started doing the studies that needed to be done.
now your epa has granted his group $1.9 million to have folks test their water and send it in so we can find out exactly where the hot spots are whether they be in mr. rush's district of chicago or where else. professor edwards says -- he calls this the largest engineering citizen's science project in american history. the three-year grant will support his team and some other universities are involved. and he said that all the work we did with consumers over the years and the students at virginia tech created this bottom up organic science phenomena. it created a tidal wave of understanding that couldn't be ignored. this is how science is supposed to work to me. if we could have that article put in the record by unanimous consent. >> democrat versus los have loo.
they've approved submitted with unanimous consent. >> i'm going to switch to the phase two that was approved in the prior administration. you all are taking some action in regard to one part of that. i first want to talk about trailers. i ask these questions of the prior folks at the epa and i don't know how they have authority to regulate trailers when the clean air act clearly says the term motor vehicle means any self-propelled vehicle designed for transporting persons or property. a trail ser not seler is not se, nor does it have an engine. you would agree with me that we need to make sure trailers are not being declared by the epa to be self-declared motor vehicles. yes or no. >> yes we were in process.
>> you're also in the process of looking at that same regulation related to gliders and big trucks. i've got a problem because my district has the volvo north america truck manufacturing site, thousands of jobs. billions of dollars were spent to meet the new requirements. i would agree with you in that that the law does not say the epa can do what they did because they went after gliders. they went after and just said you basically can't do it, which they don't have authority to do, because it's not a new motor vehicle engine which is defined in the code. what's interesting is i do believe there ought to be something because volvo and other manufacturers spent billions upgrading. the code says you really don't
have any authority other used motor vehicles during the useful life of that motor vehicle nap's 11 years and 120,000 miles. what's happening in some cases the gliders are not just being used of wreck trucks or other trucks that might be within that time frame, but they're being used on trucks outside of their useful life. don't you think it would be appropriate to take a look at -- all that's in the law. you have that authority. take a look at it and see what can be worked out so we don't have trucks just being overhauled by the glider companies that are decades old and nowhere near meeting the emissions standards of the united states, but at the same time recognizing they have a right to do that if the truck has not used up its useful life as defined already. >> that alternative is something we haven't reviewed yet. we have been focused on the statutory analysis both for gliders and trailers. this is something we need to add
to the evaluation. >> what's interesting is i think about 80-85% of what the previous administration wanted to accomplish could have been accomplished if they hadn't done sloppy legal work. i yield back. >> chair recognizes south carolina mr. duncan. >> thank you for being here today. i apologize for the abrasiveness of some of my colleagues who would rather tarnish your character rather than delve into issues facing this great nation. i know congresswoman blackburn brought this up but this flawed regulation sought to expand federal control over 60% of our country's streams, millions of acres of wetlands that were previously nonjurisdictional. it has allowed the army corps to regulate almost every body of wat
water. in reality the regulations have done very little to benefit environmental stewardship. this is by far the largest issue for agriculture in south carolina. i know on your tour this past summer you saw the real negative impact that regulations had on farmers and local businesses. these regulations are emblematic of the overreach by the obama station and the undermining of state and local authority. it is our responsibility in congress to use our lawmaker power to enact legislative and permanent fix. mr. administrator, i appreciate your attention and efforts to curtail the rules. we talked about the president's executive order and i just want to ask this question. i saw earlier this month that you issued a memo taking control of decision making from the epa's regional administrators on important matters to streams and wetland jurisdictions. can you elaborate on the
intentions of this document and why you issued this memo? tlnch >> there's been many decisions made at the regional level through delegation, utilizing that definition historically, that 2015 decision and even prior to that 1986 and the 2008 guidance. so we had inconsistency across the country with respect to what jurisdiction we had. this was an effort to draw that back to make sure we had uniformity and how we reviewed our responsibility on the clean water act and make sure every region is implementing. >> why is this important? >> certainty and clarity around the waters of the united states rule is terribly important. if you have landowners across this country guessing aren't whether t -- about who has jurisdiction over their decision, meaning they have to seek permit, then they don't want to find out years later they should have gotten those permits and face fined
each day for those number of years. clarity is really at the heart of our efforts this year. >> is your effort by the agency to go back and look at these maps that were drawn, because when i look at the waters of the u.s. ruling and streams and ditches in my district falling under the jurisdiction -- these are ditches that only hold water in an inclement rain event that aren't navigable waterways in anybody's opinion. is there any attempt by the agency to review these maps and really pull some of those designated areas back in? >> that was part of our objective and effort with the rewrite of the rule. there's not just these jurisdictional determinations you're referring to, you're right, they're been
so inconsistent, so different across the country, that puddles considered waters of the united states, which i believe looking at the text of the clean water act clearly was not the intent of congress. that's something that we're going through that process providing that clarity. those determinations will take effect or maybe change after that. >> just last question. during my time as a state legislator, we had instances where areas were considered isolated wetlands and these were areas where logging loading decks were situationed. they sat there for a while, water settled. no wetland, no streams, but bull rushes popped up because water settled in there from where the equipment had sat. and all of a sudden this area was designated an isolated wetland and wasn't able to be replanted or developed. >> also prior converted crop
lands. there are similar issues around that issue. absolutely we are looking at it. >> thank you. i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. chair recognizes the gentle lady from california for five minutes, i thank the chairman for holding today's hearing and for extending the legislative courtesy for me to participate at your committee which i'm not a member of. administrator pruitt, public officials and public office have a public trust to live up to. we're called to hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards so that the people that we serve have the confidence that we work for them, not for ourselves, not for special interests, but for them. in front of your title,
administrator, is u.s. epa. an agency that richard nixon founded. i think if a public official loses the trust of people and his or her ability then becomes crippled pau ed because of the factor. now, you have a solid record of breaking ethics rules from the state level right up to the federal government. it's a long list and it includes wasteful spending. i think it's an embarrassment to our country and i think it's offensive to constituents. my constituents raise a lot of
questions about you and say, how can he be doing this? so the first question that i want to ask you might be a little unusual one. do you have any remorse for the excessive spending on behalf of yourself, the expensive air ticke tickets, stopping in paris, the amounts of dollars you've expended at the agency for an expensive telephone booth. i know you said it's for a skiff, but there is a skiff at the epa. do you have any remorse about this? you can answer it yes or no. do you have any remorse? >> i echo your comments. i think that what you said is true about the importance of public trust. i have two minutes and 38 seconds. >> i endeavor to live in a way -- >> do you have any remorse?
>> i think there are changes i've made already, the change from first class to coach travel. that's a change i made. i learned about the pay raises. >> you're not going to out talk me. you claimed that steven heart the lobbyist who owned the condominium where you paid below market rent never lobbied you. however, we now know this isn't true. mr. hart's firm disclosed that he met with you regarding cleanup of the chesapeake bay. did you have any other official meetings with mr. hart, yes or no? >> the meeting that you refer to was not a meeting -- >> did you have any other meetings with him? did you ever discuss mr. hart's clients or epa business with him outside of official settings? >> there was no other meeting with mr. hart except -- >> do you have any other lobbyists with business before the epa provided you with similar personal favors that you haven't previously disclosed? >> congresswoman, as i've indicated with respect to this
situation with mr. and mrs. hart, the only event that took place was a meeting with a nonprofit chesapeake bay. i'm not aware of any other -- >> are there any other instances which you granted access to lobbyists or donors which you owed personal favors? >> i'm not aware of any instances. >> you first class travel at the taxpayer's expense has cost over $200,000 since you became the administrator. are you reimbursing the taxpayer for any of that? >> we can provide you the analysis that occurred. >> i don't need any analysis. >> i've changed that recently. >> you didn't answer my question. i asked you if you were going to reimburse the taxpayers for the overage. this includes ten trips to oklahoma as well. are you going to reimburse? >> the travel office and the security team determine where i sit on a plane and all trips that i've taken with respect to
epa dollars have been for official trips. >> with all due respect, i may be elected, but i'm not a fool. that's really a lousy answer from someone who has a high position in the federal government. this is not dodge question day. when we ask these questions on behalf of our constituents. i don't really find you forthcoming. so the last few questions that i'd like to ask with five seconds left is when you traveled to your hometown -- >> the gentle lady's time is expired. >> -- did you attend any political fund-raisers -- >> the time is expired. recognize the gentleman from pennsylvania. >> thank you, mr. chair. mr. pruitt, i have -- i think what you generated on some of these spending decisions is
actually warranted. i've reviewed your answers and i find some of them lacking or insufficient. i believe you've demonstrated or you've not demonstrated the requisite degree of good judgment required of an appointed executive branch official on some of these spending items. i'd like to follow up on a couple specific instances. it's been reported that epa officials who have challenged your spending decisions and who have been reassigned or demoted for not were not reassigned or demoted over the challenging of your spending decisions but they all had performance issues. have those performance issues been documented prior to them being reassigned or demoted? >> i'm not sure to what you're referring as far as a conclusion they were performance related. i talked about this earlier.
i'm aware of two individuals being reassigned because they're in the ses category. that routinely happens in that category. i know of no instance where there were decisions made at the agency based upon counts or otherwise on spending with respect to employment related decisions. >> are there instances where current epa officials have objected to spending decisions that you have made who still remain in their present positions? >> i'm not aware of any employment action taken with respect to anyone and spending related counsel. these individuals to whom you refer, i had limited interaction with them. they did not spend meaningful time with me with respect to spending. one of the individual was the head of advance. the most of the time i spent with him was in the field and not at headquarters. there's really no factual
connection in the moimt stemplo status and any counsel regarding spending. >> the issue of two close aides who used to work for you in oklahoma and their pay raises, are you saying you were not aware those pay rises were pais after the fact? >> i was aware of another person going through process, but i was not aware of the amount provided or the process that was utilized to evaluate that. that's what i've spoken to historically. >> the other issue that's received a lot of attention is the $43,000 phone booth. you're saying that at no time from the point between when you learned that it was $13,000 to the time that it became $43,000, you were never apprised of the cost? >> i was not aware it was
13,000, 8,000 or 43,000. i gave a simple instruction to my leadership team to address secure communications in the office and then a process began. we have documentation we can provide on that. career individuals were involved in that process from beginning to end and made the decision that you see in that $43,000 allocation. >> i tend to be very conscience of security related concerns. i believe the i.g. has indicated or someone in the office has not found some of the personal security concerns that you have proffered in relation to the enhanced security that you've
received to be either warranted or credible. would you kindly provide a little bit more detail on why you think you need -- and i'm just going to be very honest with you. when folks read about trips to disneyland, professional basketball games, rose bowl and the additional security detail related to that, that doesn't sit well with a lot of people. >> i can read directly from an inspector general threat investigation. i can provide this to you. there are several on here listed with respect to threats. i'll just read you two. the threats were directed toward her father, the threat stated i hope your father dies soon. suffer as your mother watches in horror for hours on end. there's another entry correspondence between the subject and individuals. pruitt, i'm going to find you and put a bullet between your eyes. don't think i'm joking. i'm planning this. these were threats that the i.g. has documented. the i.g. has staid that the
threats against me as an administrator are unprecedented. >> i think the point's been made. gentleman's time has expired. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york. >> thank you. mr. pruitt, the person appointed to run the epa needs to be someone who cares about protecting the health and safety of people all across the country. until now, presidents on both parties, we've had a pretty good track record with our epa administrators. but your time in office really has been different. your tenure has been stained by repeated abuses of public trust and violations of ethical guidelines, guidelines designed to ensure that the government's business is conducted with impartiality and integrity. what really bothers me perhaps even more, on top of that your agency is willfully ignoring
sound science and stripping protections that keep millions safe. you're making our water less safe to drink and our air less safe to breathe. you are increasing our exposure to more dangerous chemicals and you are making our planet less healthy for our children and grandchildren. that's not just hyperbole. under your leadership the epa has weakened standards for ozone pollution, announced a repeal of the waters of the united states rule, abandoned the once in always in policy that aimed to lock in reductions of hazardous air pollution from industrial sources, withdrew the mercury effluent rule, delay the safety implementation procedures at chemical plants, withdrew a proposal to track emissions of methane and organic kpuncompoun from oil and natural guess,
announced a reconsideration of a rule regarding coal ash, announced a reconsidering of vehicle emissions standards for model years 2022 to 2025. we did a lot of work in this committee on these standards. you proposed repeal of emissions standards for heavy duty vehicles. you announced a plan to weaken standards for brick and tile manufacturers. you proposed a rule reducing air pollutants at sewage treatment plants. you've scrubbed the content of your website, including the page devoted to explaining climate change. you've removed the word science from the mission statement. you've dismissed 12 of the 18 members of the board of scientific counselors. you stay silent when counties fail to immediate new ozone standards. your epa has collected far fewer fines from polluters than any of the last three administrators during the same time and more staff and funding cuts are
looming, which means even fewer toxic chemicals and other environmental hazards will be measured. there's so much here, mr. administrator, that i wish i had more time. but instead i'll focus on an issue in the headlines now and has profound itmplications for the future, the paris climate. by announcing we will abandon our commitment to the paris agreement, this administration is setting the clock back on u.s. climate action and forfeiting our nation's position as the global leader in developing the clean energy economy of the future. the move will only open the door for others to take our place. this decision is bad for the planet and bad for public health. scientists at the epa have found that climate change is a significant threat to the health of the american people, increasing exposure to disease, increasing the risk of illness and death and increasing
dangerous extreme weather events. paris agreement was and still is our best chance to address these risks for all americans, but we can't do it alone. mr. pruitt, you've supported the president's decision to announce a withdrawal from the paris agreement. president trump and you have said that the deal unfairly puts constraints on the u.s. coal industry and it somehow is a threat to our sovereignty. it doesn't make any sense because the paris agreement is volunta voluntary. it imposes no constraints on u.s. trade policy or domestic energy policy. but there is an historic economic opportunity for american companies and workers to lead the world in creating and proidi iproviding cleaner f energy. president macron reminded us there is no planet b. he said i'm sure one day the united states will come back and join the paris agreement and i'm sure we can work together to fulfill with you the ambitions
of the global compact on the environment. i certainly hope he's right for the sake of our children and grandchildren. to me, an administrator should care about these things, not ruin these things, not make our future more dangerous for our families. that's what bothers me, because you're -- >> gentleman's time has expired. >> i'm finishing, mr. chairman. >> finish quickly. >> instead you are going against the tenants of your job. that makes me very, very angry. >> thank you. thanks to you and the ranking member for allowing me to participate. i'm a member of the committee but not of the subcommittee. the epa has a long and distinguished history established by president nixon, asbetter than anybody. i represent a district in northern new jersey outside new york. we are concerned about some of the allegations regarding the overspending. in particular, the $43,000 for
the security of the phone booth. as you know, this has been criticized by the government accountability office, the general counsel, mr. armstrong said that you had a responsibility to notify lawmakers. you have indicated that you believe this is not part of renovations. having said that, isn't there other secure locations within your agency? and why did we need to spend taxpayer funds to build a new secure place for making of telephone calls? >> first, on the gao matter we have notified the g.o. with respect to those issues and rightfully so based upon their determination. i do want to say that the office of general counsel at the agency, career individuals, interpreted the expenditure as not being within the guidelines of the statute. that's the reason the agency
acted as they did. those were all individuals, career individuals that were a part of this process -- >> the general counsel disagrees with you. >> that's right. steps were taken to notify irrespective of that. >> i tend to agree with the general counsel. i want that on the record. why did we need another skiff or skiff-like facility when there is already one at your agency? >> it's not a skiff and it was not intended to be. as i shared earlier, i simply requested for a secure line in my office based upon phone calls that occurred that are confidential in nature. based upon that instruction, the process ensued where this investment took place. >> did any of your predecessors suggest this was needed, republican or democrat? >> i'm unsure. >> i think the answer is no. it's either a yes or a no. i don't demand just a yes or no, but did any of your predecessors
suggest this? i'd like you to answer in detail. did any of your predecessors require that? >> i'm not aware of any requests. >> i have the honor of representing a predecessor of yours, christine todd wittmann. she was the administrator for the second president bush. she has indicated that she saw no need for such an enhanced telephone system when she was administrator. there were secure communications then and she has indicated she did not think this was appropriate and respectfully i do not think it is appropriate. i think that there are already secure locations and i think it was a waste of funds. regarding a completely different iss issue, in a march 30th memo you signed a directive to give more authority to your office over environmental regulations for
projects near regional waterways. it's my view that taking this authority may supplant the role of local representatives, experts, water quality boards. you have relied heavily when you were attorney general of oklahoma on federalism and perhaps appropriately so for local and state control over suits against the epa. yet it appears to me that your directive supplants local control and that it would give you as administrator final decision making authority over the protection of streams, ponds and wetland under the clean water act. i'd be interested in your views. it impressed me that your viewed may have changed now that you are the administrator from your position as attorney general of oklahoma. >> they haven't changed with respect to the collaboration from the states in that regard. i think what you're referring to is a decision to bring that delegation back from the regions. what we've seen is a great variation, inconsistency from one region to another with respect to the issues you've
described. so this is an effort at the agency to get uniformity, to get consistency across the regions, collaboration, consultation will continue both at the regions and with the states. >> thank you. i end my questioning by saying that i am concerned about what i believe is overspending. i'm particularly concerned about the secure location. it is my judgment that was not needed and that is the judgment certainly of at least one of your predecessors. >> i agree with your statement. i believe that that was an amount of money that should not have been spent and was never authorized. >> the gentleman's time has expired. chair recognizes the gentle lady from illinois for five minutes. >> thank you. i'd like to thank the chair and ranking member for allowing me, a member of the committee but not the subcommittee, to be here today. there's a lot of interest, secretary pruitt, in your
testimony. it has been reported that your decision to abandon the planned fuel efficiency standards was heavily influenced by samantha dravis, one of the employees you brought with you from oklahoma, who's now under investigation for receiving a salary from taxpayers despite not coming to work for three months. you personally brought ms. dravis on the job at epa when you became administrator, is that correct? >> she is not from oklahoma. yes, she came in upon the start of our administration. are you referring to the midterm evaluation? >> i'm going to continue with my questions. she was hired using the safe drinking water act authority that was used to give unapproved raises to other staff that you did bring from oklahoma, is that
correct? >> i'm not aware if she was hired under that safe drinking water act authority. there was authority on the safe drinking water act to administratively determine certain individuals. it's legal, authorized, been used by previous administrators. it could have been used in that instance. i'm just not aware. >> how much was samantha dravis paid for the three months during which she did not report to work? >> there's a pending investigation and i'm not aware that she did or did not appear for work. that is being reviewed at this point. >> senator carper has stated on the basis of information, i believe, from a whistle blow er that he worked with you on a deal to preserve fuel efficiency standards. he has said that you abandoned that deal at the urging of samantha dravis. did samantha dravis urge
abandon the potential deal with senator carper? >> i'm not aware. i don't know if you're speaking of the midterm evaluation or another issue. >> regardless of what the source of the -- i mean, these are pretty straightforward questions about her and the three months that she -- are you contesting that she did not work for three months? >> no, i'm not speaking to that at all. >> i don't know what your point is about ask where it came from. i'm asking if she worked for three months without any -- she did not work for three months with pay. >> but your question was about fuel fisheefficiency. i'm not entirely sure what the question was with respect to her influence in that regard. i'm not aware of any decision around fuel efficiency influenced in that way. >> are you aware that she was
paid and did not work for three months? >> i'm not aware. i know it's under review at this point and those facts will bear out. >> i want to ask you also about your vehicles. at the same time that the epa has moved to increase fuel costs for american households, you have reportedly asked taxpayers to cover the cost of a luxury suv for your use. is it true that as administrator, you upgraded from a chevy tahoe to a suburban with leather interior and other luxury features. >> the decision to add a vehicle to the fleet was in process prior. they asked for input about the vehicle. i did not give direction to start that process or end this
process. >> it isn't the first time in public service that you've upgraded your official vehicle. as oklahoma attorney general, you upgraded to a big black suv when your predecessor used a sedan. is that correct? >> the sedan was something that went out of service and we had to replace that with an suv. >> you had to replace it with an suv? >> there was a replacement that occurred because the other one came out of service. >> it's not just that it had to be replaced. it had to be replaced with a bigger, less fuel efficient and larger, more expensive car. it just seems to me that this pattern that we've been hearing today -- >> gentle lady's time -- >> i thank you for your answers. >> chair recognizes gentleman from southwest missouri, mr. long for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, administrator pruitt for being here today. i think that it's been well
established today that you have the most famous cone of silence since agent 86. that's not where my questioning is going to go today. i have a 30-year career as a real estate broker before i came here. part of being a real estate broker, it was very important to people the energy efficiency of their homes. when they were looking for a new home they looked for that energy star certified program. in your testimony you walk about the energy star program and how it helps businesses and consumers save money by reducing their energy use. the energy star program provides consumers with accurate information about what products and systems deliver high quality energy savings. as you know, i'm wondering if you could talk about the process involved with updating the energy store standards to ar ste the most innovative and up to date technology?
>> the program to which you refer has been extremely successful from the public private partnership. there's actually a rule making schedule that will occur in january of next year, as i understand, it establish fees that will support that program. i think that the concern has been just the long-term stability and viability of the program. so we're in the process now of preparing for that. it's something we're committed to. i think it's been very successful. >> okay. i think it's important to both the regulative community and the public that we speak with consistency. people may call seven different days and get eight different answers depending on which office they call. what are your plans for ensuring the epa's policy plans are implemented consistently across government including the
headquarters and regional offices in litigation and enforcement. i would lose the irs as an example because that's somewhere people get a lot of different answers. >> it's very important because we have ten regions across the area. what we've seen, enforcement, permitting, many issues, great inconsistency. so we're in the process of going through a lean program at the agency evaluating -- >> a what program? >> a management program to ensure we are committed to metrics. >> what did you call it? >> lean. >> okay. >> i had a person a coo that's dedicated to ensuring that we are setting metrics objectives at each of the regions and there's verticality and uniformity from headquarters to the regions and across the country to ensure on compliance, assistance, permitting, all these various issues that we don't see this great variety. >> on these epa proposed rule
revisions which recognize the importance of the states overseeing the implementation of the programs, regulating coal combustion individuals, i believe that your oversight is critical. has your agency given thought to imposing deadlines under the existing federal rules so the states have time to get their programs developed and an proved by the epa? >> there's been consideration of that, yes. you make a great point about the timeline that states need to develop their own programs. we've provided guidance to the states but they need time to adopt and implement those programs. both are very important. trying to address the impending deadlines and also work with the states to achieve the startup of their programs. >> with oklahoma being a neighbor to missouri, i'm sure that you know that electric supplier in missouri rely on a large amount of coal for our energy. is it still your plan to
undertake a timely repeal for power plants? those regulations were dependent on the last epa's official finding that carbon engagers the environment. back in the office i've been watching it very constantly on television and i must tell you, this, this is very disturbing. what i'm hearing today. one of the most alarming aspects that i've heard concerns your expenditures. i'm going to call them your outlandish expenditures on security. and what's even more alarming, the fact that there has been an
obvious practice of retaliation against epa employees who question your spending. you're a lawyer, i've read bio, you must certainly know that whistleblower protections are essential to insuring fairness and good government. according to press accounts, five epa staff members were fired or reassigned after questioning your spending, when advising you you need to notify congress of ex-pependitures ove $5,000. the nonprofit gao office has validated those employees, finding that you broke the law, that's not democrats or any other political group. that's the na nonpartisan government accountability office has now validated those employees. finding that you broke the law in failing to notify the
congress. now did you intend, do you intend to hold yourself or your staff accountable for this action? >> i know of no instances where a decision has been played on employment status related to spending or any recommendations regarding spending, i've said that earlier. i'll say it again to you now. >> my point is notifying congress -- >> that's an issue i've addressed a couple of times here office of general counsel, career officials at the agency advised the folks going through the expenditure process that they did not need to notify congress. gao said otherwise that notification has taken place. those individuals, those career individuals that made the decision on that expenditure were following advice of counsel and the direction of what they knew to be right at the time. >> it's your position that you had no responsibility to notify congress of these expenditures. >> i believe that the decision has been remedied and it should have been done at the beginning. but it was not done and the question is, as they made those decisions, who guided that. it was career individuals at the agency.
>> i was further alarmed that the pattern was extended to the head of the office of homeland security at epa. who signed off on a february memo finding that you did not face direct death threats. that person was removed from his role i'm told. the day that the senate democrats revealed the existence of the memo. the timing of the move clearly suggested an effort to intimidate in my opinion and to deter staff who might share their concerns with congress. any truth to that? >> i think the office who heads our human resources area, who say the contrary to that. the reference i made earlier to the previous question about inspector general and their actual recitations of threats i can provide to you, congressman. the person referred does not have all the information in connection with threats. >> last month you moved to weaken protection from toxic coal ash which poses serious
risks to human health and the environment. i had a coal health bill in my state of north carolina. the spill that occurred in kingston, tennessee caused 30 premature deaths and serious illnesses among workers who cleaned the spill. amazingly you've proposed weakening the protections, despite the hard science proved proving the dangerousness of the spills. this is unacceptable. were you aware of these severe worker impacts when you proposed weakening the coal ash rule? >> the specific examples you refer to, no. i was not aware of those specific examples. >> last january you delayed essential protections for farm workers. from dangers, dangerous pestsides, including delaying protection force miners, that delay has now been thrown out. my staff says thrown out. unionized lawyers would call it something different, dismissed, by the courts. is that true or not true? >> no, it's my understanding that there's a proposal to deal
with those age requirements that are being considered, but there's not been any final action on that. states have age requirements as well and we're contemplating in that process, whether those age requirements should be deferred to in this process. i'm not aware of them being final at this point, congressman. >> let me thank you for your testimony. i've listened to as much as i could today. i'm very disappointed with your record at the agency. it's not commensurate with your record over many, many years in other capacities and your lack of concern for workers is what concerns me most of all. you've wasted taxpayer money. >> the gentleman's time is expired. the chair recognizes the gentleman from florida for five minutes. >> thank you for allowing me to sit on the subcommittee. i sit on the full committee. administrator pruitt, i want to talk about the environmental review and approval process for local projects. with a significant portion of my constituents living on the florida's west coast, i'm always
concerned about hurricanes as you could understand. as well. flooding. however our area only has two evacuation routes. to residents inland during an emergency. to alleviate this problem the pasco county government initiated the ridge road extension project to create a third evacuation route, they've been working on this since 1997. can you believe that, since 1997. for over 20 years, the county has been treading through recommendations, filling out forms. and meeting with federal officials to get this public safety project up and running. so we're talking about again a public safety project. we need to save lives, god forbid we had a disaster. so while they met with some recent success and i've been working to help them out, the project still has not received
final approval. administrator pruitt, what has the agency done under your leadership to streamline the review of projects, particularly when they involve public safety. where lives can be on the line. in this case, they definitely are on the line. and is permitting improvement something that your epa workforce assessment, are they addressing these issues? >> it's absolutely a priority. we began an effort last year, before we arrived at the agency. they didn't know how long it took to actually go through the permitting process. i asked that question upon arrival to give me an idea about the length of time that it took for permitting. they didn't know the answer so we've evaluated the data and i know it won't surprise you it takes a long time. you've cited your example. by the end of 2018 we are making changes, internal to the agency that the decision that we make on permits, up or down will occur within six months starting january 19th.
that's the effort we're engaged in. this is an interagency approach as well and we're collaborating with the corps of engineers, making sure we have consistency in working with them. >> you say within six months. beginning in 2019. >> at the end of the year we'll have a plan in place to execute upon, as we begin january of '19. >> on the same point the president released an infrastructure plan which included sections on permitting improvement. one of the proposals is that one agency, one decision is that what you're referring to? environmental review structure. >> another is allowing for localities to complete a single review document for a a project. ares this things that you support? >> i do support. they are great recommendations that have been made as part of the infrastructure package. whether it's adopted or not, we're advancing the six-month
review process in terms of the agency. >> as far as you know there are a lot of local governments that can't afford to hire high-priced consultants as you know. so this is very, very important to them. they shouldn't be penalized because they can't afford to hire these high-priced consultants. my area, over the years they've spent a lot of money on this project. and i'm sure that there are examples all over the country where it's taken many, many years. so i appreciate you working with me on this. i hope we get approval soon. >> thank you, congressman. >> recognize the gentlelady from florida, representative mccaskill for five minutes. >> mr. pruitt, your pattern of unethical conduct, and conflicts of interest are now very well known. i'm troubled by your failure to take personal responsibility for your actions.
you simply dismissed all of the ethical lapses at the beginning of your testimony as troubling media reports. i think that's a failure in leadership. but the point i want to make today is that those costs, your wasteful spending, those costs pale in compares ton the damage you are doing to the health of american families, and the assault on our clean air and clean water protections. our protections against dangerous chemicals and pesticides. mr. plum highlighted the issue of the dangerous paint stripper at the beginning that is known to have caused over 50 deaths. and yet the epa under your administration now has, you say we have stalled, we don't have a final decision. but in essence, you've turned a blind eye to those families. there's also the case of cloro
pyrofos. in the same chemical class as sarin, a dangerous nerve agent. there was a are recommendation by epa scientists, when you came in, the last administration said we're going to propose very significant restrictions, especially to protect babies, children, young people under 18. you came in and turned that around. you said no, well this is it's not final. but you've set a pattern here. america's pediatricians are outraged. public health advocates are outraged. and so am i, we're talking about the development of brain in babies and children. we're talking about not just children that might be in farmlands, but they live and work or they live and play in those areas. there are a lot of kids in the audience today and parents who care about this a great deal. it's take your child to work
today, that was good to have them in here. my first question is why are corporate polluter profits more important to you than the health of families and children? >> on the issue of representative plum brought up and the issue that you've raised, i would ask you not to jump to conclusions that there's a final process there. as you know, the previous administration -- >> but there is a pattern. and your actions belie what you say. when your epa scientists and public health advocates and pediatricians all say here's the ban and you come into office and time and time and time again you, you're siding with the special interests and not with the public interests. >> that solvent is one you're referring to is one of the ten chemicals that we're reviewing. >> and that was the recommendation, the action of this committee and you've, you've set the pattern and really whatever you could say today, i think people need to look at your actions rather than
your rhetoric. but in addition to your failure to take any responsibility, i have to say that i'm disappointed, in a lot of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle that have let the administrator off the hook today by barely asking any tough questions, there were a few exceptions and my hat's off to them. maybe they're trying to save his job because they're worried if he doesn't perform well today he could be fired. several congressional republicans have already publicly called for your firing. but unfortunately none on this committee. either way, it's embarrassing that most of the republicans refuse to take this committee's oversight responsibility seriously and hold you accountable. they claim to have requested documents from the administration regarding administrator pruitt's misconduct and conflicts of interest. but there's no evidence of any investigation. meanwhile, the democrats on this committee, we have sent numerous inquiries to epa, the office of inspector general, the gao, the
office of the special counsel and some of those have borne out and you've been found in violation of the law. unfortunately, we have yet to see any real effort from my colleagues on the other side of the aisle so i've been keeping a list today as well, mr. administrator, of the unanswered questions. because you often say it's not final. we're looking at this, the jury is out. but you failed to give direct responses on a number of questions, so mr. chairman. i'd like to submit this list for the record of the endless string of questions, that administrator pruitt has not answered today. >> let us look at that, pass it over here, please. >> and finally close out by saying -- >> the gentlelady's time has expired. the chair recognizes the gentleman from maryland for five minutes. >> i've been watching you during the hearing and you have the
bearing of a man who thinks he's untouchable. i don't know if that's true or not. i would be careful about that because i don't think americans go for that. and in your position they just want you to protect their air, they want to you protect clean water and they want you to conserve the land. as has been said by many of my colleagues, the epa under your tenure has been cloaked in secrecy and swamped with ongoing legal and ethical failures. you've refused to release detailed information from your calendar. often provide no advanced notice of where you're going to be. agency career staff we're told have been instructed not to take note. or carry their cell phones. and this level of secrecy has forced a lot of citizens to take the avenue of filing freedom of information act requests. i understand that epa political leadership has added a new layer of so-called awareness reviews to those requests. which can delay the release of information to the public and also limit the amount of information redacted in the responses. are you aware that your political appointees are
conducting these reviews before information is released to the public? yes or no. >> first let me say there's been no instruction not to take notes or carry phones, that's simply fabricated. with respect to the process you're referring to, the foia process is governed by statute. >> the office of general counsel is conducting foia reviews. >> i'm going to move on, because we're limited here. but if that was done that's a pretty clever move. we wrote to you last year with concerns about carl icahn's role as special adviser on regulations, potential conflict of interest due to his financial holdings. and outspoken positions on the renewable fuel standards, fuel programs, a year later the epa's implementation of the rfis programs, the small refinery waiver provision is under fire from both farmers and refiners. my colleague, mr. green, raised the issue of secret waivers.
i want to know about cvr energy in which carl icahn owns a majority stake. you met with representatives from carl icahn's company, cvr energy in june of 2017. >> that's correct. >> did that company apply for a waiver from ethanol blending requirements from any of its refining facilities? >> i'm not sure. >> we'll look at the record for that and did carl icahn's company receiver a waiver for any of it's refining facilities. >> these exemptions are governed by statute. >> i would appreciate you following that up. it raises serious questions about conflicts of interest. i've had the privilege of chairing here in the congress, the democracy reform task force, we've been trying to keep up with the ethical lapses of the trump administration. which i will tell you, is kind of a full-time job. and you certainly have been at the center of some of that
focus, to date five independent federal investigations. have been initiated at this committee's request. and more than eight independent federal reviews are currently under way with respect to your office. yesterday the democracy reform task force released another report, in a series that's looking at failures and ethical lapses within the trump administration this one was detailing your wasteful spending and favors for your friends that put the interests of dirty polluters ahead of the american people. so this is now available for people to take a look at. it goes to the litany of ethical violations that have come to characterize and be the hallmark of your time in office. you've really become, it's sad to say it, you've become in many respects and you ought to take this to heart as somebody who holds an office in the public
trust, you're wearing that mantle today, that office of public trust. as head of the epa. something people care deeply about. you're going to wear that mantle, you have to exercise the office with attention to public interest, not the private interest. but unfortunately you've become the poster child for the abuse of public trust. you've brought your way of approaching these public offices to the epa. and it's undermined the credibility of that organization, but it's a hallmark of the trump administration and we're going to continue to demand answers and we're going to continue to hold you accountable and every hearing you choose to be up here. give i credit for coming today. we're going to continue to hold you accountable for the dereliction of duty that we see. >> the chair recognizes the
gentleman from. >> with you and mr. flores have been working on ethanol. mr. pruitt i've heard reports, read reports that as a result of the pressure on midwest ag in response to the retaliatory tariffs by china that there is a move by some to increase ethanol usage. can you comment on that very briefly? >> well are you referring to the rvp waiver? >> that's correct. >> we have been actively evaluating the legal authority, under the statute, the rvp waiver for the last several months. the reason it's taken some time, congressman -- >> i might interrupt. actually what i'm talking about. i appreciate the work on ethanol that my colleagues have done. but what is reported is that as a result of the tariffs, that china is imposing on soybeans and grain that there's going to be, a concession from the trump administration to go to e-15. so i'll just leave it there.
i want to ask you some questions along the lines of how you've been running your department. is it the case that any of your predecessors, republican or democrat, who have had the high responsibility as administrator of the epa, have had a 20-person security detail? >> i'm not aware of previous considerations in that regard. >> is it not at all relevant to you, what the precedent have been with republican and democratic administrators in the past? >> i'm just not aware congressman of processes prior to my time at the agency on what was considered and what was considered. >> did the taxpayers spend $30,000 for a security detail to accompany you on a trip to disneyland? >> i'm unsure about that. we took -- >> that's knowable. >> if the records show that. >> so you can determine this. it's not like secret stuff? >> the detail, the law enforcement make those determinations on what type of
security should be provided. >> i've been listening to a lot of the answers, and the answers are somebody else knows it and it really starting to seem like there's a, there's something on your desk, with a motto that says, the buck stops nowhere. and you're the guy who is in charge. >> yet, congressman, i've made decisions to switch and make sure to make changes back to coach and i've rescinded the pay raises to those individuals. >> no, i get it. >> in fact, that's happened. >> let me ask you about this phone booth because it's a metaphor. are you aware that at the epa headquarters there are two secure facilities where private phone calls could be secure? >> and again, i didn't request a skiff. i requested a secure communication that was not accessible to my office. >> i understand that. but you're the boss, so you tell your folks that you want a secure way of communicating. reasonable request. they're going to accommodate it. the boss is the one who has to
make certain that it's a reasonable imposition on taxpayers. do you disagree with that? >> in this instance, the process failed. as i indicated in my opening statement, those processes will be changed going forward. >> you ask the question, here's the question that i think a lot of people would ask, republican or democrat, how can i make a secure phone call? and the answer would be, well, mr. pruitt, there happens to be two places in this building right close to your office where you can do that. and you -- >> they're not right close to my office. >> well how often do you have to use your secret phone booth? >> it's four confidential communications and it's rare. >> okay so on those rare occasions, is it too much to ask you to walk whatever distance it takes for to you get to that secure line? >> i guess it depends on the nature of the call and how urgent the call is. >> the point is you have two locations that you can go to, when you have to make those rare secure phone calls. this is taxpayer money.
>> were there installed biometric locks on your office? >> there are problems with locks on two of the three doors and changes were made to those locks. no instruction was given for biometric locks, but that was the decision made by those individuals. >> these things just happened. >> process of the agency in that regard and it's an evaluation. >> what's a biometric lock? >> i'm not entirely sure. >> is it the case that you know how to open your door? what is a biometric lock. >> i don't know, i just put a code in. >> a biometric lock. it responds as i understand it, to like fingerprints or some other eye, eyes. some physical characteristics. >> that's my understanding as well. >> you have them, right? >> those have been added to the office, yes. >> why? >> gentleman's time is expired.
the chair recognizes the gentleman from iowa for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, thank you for allowing me to waive on this subcommittee. i appreciate that. mr. pruitt, i share a lot of the concerns my colleagues have voiced today on the ethics front. but i'm actually here to talk about an issue that you might imagine i'm from iowa, upmost importance to my state, my district. during your confirmation process, you stated that you would work to uphold the renewable fuel standard. over the last two years, president trump has pledged to support the rfs. time and time again he's pledged to support it however, over the last several weeks information has been revealed that makes me question that commitment as you might imagine. various reports have indicated that the epa has granted so-called economic hardship exemptions to numerous refiners. who appear to be neither small nor financially distressed. you know what the law says, it has to be 75,000 gallons or less to be granted that economic
hardship waiver. i can tell you i've heard directly from my constituents, farmers and many others and from farmers across the country who are extremely troubled by this action and this comes at a particularly difficult time in farm country. when we've had low prices, seen farm income trending. and industry profits are soaring. i'm extremely disappointed in the action as you might imagine and the lack of transparency and accountability in the process is also unacceptable. >> under section 211 of the clean air act, the epa administrator is required to reassign gallons that are waived under the small refinery exemption, to other obligated parties. because this entire waiver process has happened really without any transparency whatsoever. i'm disappointed, my constituents are disappointed, and we really have no idea whether those gallons have been reassigned as required by law, so my first question, mr. pruitt, yes or no, is have you
reassigned these gallons as required by law? >> it's my understanding that the process has happened as it's supposed to under the statute. >> we're going to need that. and how do you plan to reassign them the gallons you waived going forward for the 2019 year? >> i think your question is very important with the respect to the volume obligation, congressman. when you think about the commitment of this administration to the rfs, the point of obligation was denied. that was a big issue. >> that's not my point. i'm talking about the waivers, i'd like to move on to my next question. do you intend to inform this committee and the public about the details behind these waivers as such as which refiners received a ware? >> subject to the confidential business information or other information, that would be the only thing that would not be available. >> we want to know who got these waivers, not why, necessarily, i can't understand why that would be considered confidential business information. reports have indicated that 25 refiners received waivers from their obligations. is that number accurate? >> that was in 2017. the applications are still
pending in 2018. >> what is the number at the moment? >> it's over that number for 2018, as i understand it. >> did you discuss these exemptions with the white house? >> there's ongoing discussions with the white house on various issues surrounding the rfs program. >> who at the white house was involved. >> the nec in consultation with their office. >> did you brief the president on these waivers? >> this was a dialogue among staff members at our shop. >> has anybody explained to the president the substantial impact that these waivers have on the ethanol industry? some of us have made a billion gallons. >> i'm sure it's come up in many discussions. >> you told me and others that the epa is studying whether or not it has the legal authority to grant the rfp waiver. and that seems like it's taking quite a while as you might imagine for many of us. in corn country. and what the president's recent remarks, referenced here, i'm wondering what the hold-up is on this at this point. >> trying to insure that the
legal basis is solid. there will be litigation that will ensue. >> do you plan to move forward and grant the rvp waiver and allow year-round sales? >> i intend to continue that process soon. >> hopefully the sooner the better. this is something very important to my state, my district, many folks around the country. we're looking forward to that. and of course, refinery executives have called your action on the hardship waivers to go back to that quote giving out trick-or-treat candy to their industry and i'm here to tell you the farmers are disappointed by this they've been waiting for years for the e-15 waiver year-round and mr. chairman, i think this program is in need of substantial oversight, waiver program and certainly the e-15 as well. and these actions i don't think can happen in secret. i know that was addressed earlier in this hearing. we need to make sure that these waivers are not abused as a financial windfall for special interests and i look forward to working with you, mr. chairman on this further and i yield back. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from new mexico for
five minutes. >> administrator pruitt, you seem to view the epa budget as a personal slush fund. redirecting resources to your personal travel, that should go to environmental protection. during your tenure you spent more than $160,000 on travel if first class, on private jets, on military craft. public office is a public trust. i think flying coach is the least we can do, to deserve that trust. my question for you is this, when you are paying for your own airfare with personal funds, do you fly coach? >> i follow the security recommendations of my team and when i pay for it personally as well. >> will you commit to reimbursing taxpayers for your luxury travel? >> you refer to it as luxury travel and the $160,000 that you refer to pales in comparison to the previous administration's, i think you're referring to international travel. i took two international trips,
the previous administration took multiple trips. these discussions about who attends and what they do to provide protection happen to law enforcement recommendations and that's what i followed. >> it's been recently reported by epa ethics officials that on at least two personal trips you flew coach on southwest airlines using a companion pass from ken wagner, your subordinate at the epa. clearly the plane ticket has more than nominal value. are you aware that federal ethics rules prohibit you from accepting gifts from subordinates? >> we flew like car pooling, we shared costs from oklahoma. >> did ken wagner give you the boarding pass? >> there was no gift whatsoever. >> i think the ethics officials will continue to look into that. mr. pruitt your travels have taken you to morocco, italy and luxury resorts around the united states. we've heard from kevin, a political appointee who worked
in your office, he told staffers to quote find me something to do, close quote in order to schedule travel to your desired destinations. unfortunately it seems your desired defendant nations have rarely included low-income communities and communities of cover facing serious environmental risks. the biggest problem with the pay to play system is those most at risk are also those the most unable to pay for your attention and concern. of your extensive travel spending how much would you say you spend visiting low-income communities. and communities of color? >> san jacinto in houston and chicago. the trip to italy was a g7 trip, occurring a week after the paris decision. i was there to four days. that's free trade agreement that is in existence in morocco and the ambassador of morocco invited me to morocco to negotiate the environmental chapter on that free trade agreement. both of those things are very important to the scope of our duties at the epa.
>> mr. administrator you've gone to great lengths to keep your calendar secret. what's come out is most of your meetings have been with stake holders. >> do you see a problem with granting greater impact to polluters. >> i've meant with stake holders, their voices have not been heard for many years. the farmers and ranchers that i've met with are first environmentalists and first skoigsists. >> you have the duty to protect the health of trinl and indigenous communities. >> disproportionately harm to low income, minority tribal and indigenous communities. >> the repeal of a policy mentioned by miss dingell for example. the weakening of coal ash regulations is another. mr. pruitt, today you repeatedly blamed your chief of staff, your chief counsel, career officials, and others. yes or no, are you the epa
administrator? >> i said that in my opening statement, congressman and i didn't blame anyone, i simply shared the fact with you -- >> just a simple yes or no question. are you the epa administrator? >> i said in my opening statement that i take responsibility. it may change historically and making changes going forward. i've not failed to take responsibility. i've simply recited the facts of what's occurred. >> it's a simple question, mr. pruitt. are you the epa administrator? >> yes. >> just to be clear, do you run the epa? >> i do. >> yes or no, are you responsible for the many, many scandals plaguing the epa? >> i've responded to many of those questions here today. with facts and information. >> are you able to answer a yes or no? >>is not a yes or no answer. >> there's clear concern of what's been happening not just by the entire congress, and i appreciate you being here, but these questions need to be asked and answered. >> behave answered them today. >> you're not the only one that's been doing these ugly things, these horrific things,
these scandal-plagued things in this administration and i hope that this is one of many hearings that this committee will have so we can get to the bottom of this and make sure taxpayers are made whole. >> the gentleman's time has expired. seeing no further members wishing to ask questions i would like to thank our witness for being here today. i would ask you to consent to commit the following documents for the record. letters to the chairman ranking member from lauren atkins, report from gao on epa's use of fiscal year 2017 appropriations, letter from the american association for the advancement of science. mr. rush holt. article from the roanoke times, questions from miss castor, letter from the american geophysical union. letter from 985 scientists. pursuant to committee rules, remind members that they have ten business days to submit additional questions for the record and i ask that witnesses submit their questions within ten business days, upon receipt of the questions. without objection, the
>> are you going through the documents that he's agreed to send to your committee, also the ones going to the ig's office and other house and senate committee. >> we have committee for oversight. i'll defer to the oversight committee and the chairman to decide what else they'll follow up on. >> have you heard anything about whether pruitt still has the support of the white house? >> no, i don't know, no. i wasn't coached.
you know, i didn't get any communication from the white house. before or after so no, i don't know any of that stuff. was there a fair statement from caster that there are no -- >> i mean again, i'm just a subcommittee chairman. so that's, that's a question for chairman walen. but i thought our ro and i was doing something. the oversight committee. >> pruitt at the end said he answered all the questions on ethics allegations and i mean what's your feeling on that? do you feel like he's answered those questions? >>cy think that people, i think he answered them to the best that he could. and i think we evaluate that, you know the, the answer to your question is based upon the view that you have in listening to the question and the answer. i think some of them, yes, some of them he was a little vague
on. i don't know what else to say. everybody comes with a view. and the question is from your point of view, was that question answered. >> a bunch of the questions on spending he answered by saying well he ordered them to do something and this is how it was resolved. is that a concern to you? >>. >> i just mentioned, i think there is an issue that when you're in charge, i better say, kind of said that at the beginning, right? i'm responsible and the military is responsible for all you do and your unit does or fails to do. even if you say give me a phone booth and your staff does it, probably say yeah, that was, yeah, my fault. you know, instead of it's never good to blame your staff. i think it's always, or -- you do it behind closed doors and you talk to them. but not publicly. right?
>> what other examples of vague answers do you think he gave that you would like to get some information on. >> you guys are the observers, i, you know most of the stuff has been litigated and reported on. you guys already reported this in the press. we heard the same story. eight or ten times and actually some of it from republicans. so -- i think the other things that we were asked was -- you know, what did i expect. and i kind of said this in my first round of questions. policy, and stewardship and i also said i'm sure you're going to hear that not just from on the stewardship side. you're not going to hear that from democrats and i think my colleagues. on the republican side, i mean they may not have been so visceral emotionally mad. but they, they did raise these points. that you know that you guys still have questions on. >> if only a couple of them raised those points, only a few asked direct questions about the ethics allegations, do you think
that's because some of these, you and your colleagues don't have concerns about those? or just that this wasn't the venue for that? why do you think there wasn't many direct questions about the ethics allegations? >> you would have to go to individual members to ask questions. >> why don't you ask the questions. >> i gave them the forum. i'm the chairman. we knew this was coming. gave him the forum to say okay, start addressing this stuff. policy, stewardship. >> do you think pruitt is a positive reflection of the republican party? >> he's got a tough job. and i think republicans have always viewed, we do think that you can have good environmental stewardship and help create jobs. and there's a constant tension between those two.
>> why is the economy growing? we believe it's growing because of tax relief and easing the regulatory burden. some of the easing of the regulatory burden is attributable to the epa. we're just not all just -- against him. right? are there unforced errors? yeah. did he pay a price today? yeah, i mean half the questions are on stewardship issues, not on policy. >> have you talked to the white house about mr. pruitt's future? >> i have not, no. i mentioned that earlier. i don't know if he came in late. not before new york city white house didn't talk to me about okay, do this. and nor have i heard anything in between. >> not just indirect questions, are some members not acting in direct question, some keep to indicate this wasn't an
appropriate forum. >> yeah it's a budget year, he's got to come. >> we're stuck on budget issues, yeah. i think we had plenty of time. but -- the decision of calling hearings and other venues, that's for the chairman of the full committee and not me. >> thanks, everybody. >> just a reminder if you missed any of this hearing with epa administrator scott pruitt testifying on the president's budget request for his agency, you can watch it in its entirety tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span 2. and legislation to protect special counsels and setting requirements and limitations on their removal once they've been
appointed by an attorney general. tonight at 9:00 p.m. eastern and chambers of congress are in session today. the house gavelled into work on a five-year extension of federal aviation programs, a final vote on that expected tomorrow. you can watch the house live on c-span and the senate confirming mike pompeo to be the next secretary of state, 57-42, six democrats and one independent voted for mr. pompeo, most of them up for re-election in november. including joe donnelly, heidi heitkamp, angus king and bill nelson. doug jones of alabama of the only democratic senator not up for re-election in the fall who also voted in favor of mr. pompeo and arizona's john mccain was the only senator who did not cast a vote. the senate also confirmed the nomination of richard grinnell to be the u.s. ambassador to germany. you can follow the senate live on c-span 2.
>> friday morning we're in salt lake city, utah for the next stop on the c span bus 50 capitals tour. starting at 9:45 a.m. eastern. >> saturday, our live coverage of the 16th annual annapolis book festival starts at 10:00 a.m. eastern, features msnbc's chris matthews, white house correspondent april ryan with her book, "the presidency in black and white." tech entrepreneur amir hussein with "the sentient machine." new agenda president and co-founder with her book "the list" a week by week reckoning of trump's first year and journalist garrett graph "raven rock." watch live coverage of the
annapolis book festival, saturday, beginning at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span 2's book tv. >> on saturday, we'll bring you live coverage of the annual white house correspondent's dinner. in washington. for the second straight year, president trump has declined an invitation to attend the event this year's entertainment will be michelle wolfe, a stand-up comedian and a correspondent with "the daily show" with trevor noah. see the dinner live on c-span. sunday night on afterwards, journalist ronald kesler with his book "the trump white house: changing the rules of the game." interviewed by ginny thomas of liberty consulting. >> he's like a boxer, always diverting attention, bobbing and weaving, counterpunching. it's all an act. i interviewed norma forter, his
top aide for 26 years. when she joined the organization there were only seven other employees she knew him better than anybody on the both the business and social side and she said there are two donald trumps, one is the one you see on tv. who makes these outrageous comments to get attention for his brand. and even if it create negative publicity he becomes the center of attention every day in conversation and the media. and there's the other donald trump, the one that insiders know, who is just the opposite. he's thoughtful. he listens. he's very careful about making decisions. >> watch after words sunday on c-span's book tv. the former u.s. ambassador to somalia was a speaker at a recent brookings institution event on the future of somalia. other spooem speakers discussed the current challenges in the region, including the presence of extremist